Beetle waited from her perch near the Forge to hear Coyote’s signal. He had wagered her he could find a way to get Goldspice away from her forge. The arrival of his wolf-friend, Swampbreath, was proof that he had succeeded. She didn’t know what Coyote had done, which meant that she probably didn’t have much time. She had to hurry. Goldspice would not be gone long - at all! The smith was not frequently away from her forge, and even more infrequently left it with the fires still lit and no one to watch over it.
Beetle grinned she entered Goldspice’s forge. She, herself, had never been able to come up with a plan to get Goldspice out so that she could go in, and Goldspice rarely let others, especially cubs into the forge. So, Beetle had finally asked Coyote. She’d have to ask later what he had done, but right now was not the time. She had something else to do - she had to find out what happened to a geode when it was heated up. Beetle could hardly wait to find out.
Beetle forced herself to remain on task as she headed to the back of the forge and set down her small bag. Kneeling, she reached in to pull out an egg-shaped rock the size of her hand. Her mother had given it to her, and told her it was a geode, much like others they had found together throughout her childhood. Starskimmer had also told her that it was up to her to figure out what was in it - if anything. Beetle was curious - sometimes egg-shaped rocks held sparkly rocks and gems. Other times, they were not so nice. She had watched her mother shape them open in the past, and she had worked very hard one time to split one open. But... she wondered: What would happen if she heated it up? Nothing had happened when she put it in a fire Notch had built for her. But the forge... it was hotter!
She stood, and as she did, a hand clamped down on her shoulder. Beetle let out a shout of surprise. Goldspice shouldn’t have returned that quickly! At least, Beetle didn’t feel like Goldspice had been gone very long. She should have known better. Inwardly she cursed herself for not wagering more with her brother - he had only promised to get Goldspice out of the forge - not to keep her out for any length of time.
Goldspice didn’t say anything as she turned Beetle around to face her. Beetle could read the disapproval and anger in the older elf’s face, but Beetle decided she didn’t care. She had made it into the forge, and she would again and again if she had to, until Goldspice let her try the experiment. She bit her lip, then straightened her back and returned the look, swallowing her fear as she challenged the older elf. ‘I’m going to be shaken by the scruff of my neck for this if she doesn’t hear me out.’
Beetle knew she wouldn’t win in a challenge against Goldspice, but she kept looking anyway, changing her own defiant glare to a silent pleading. Goldspice wasn’t backing down. She continued to glare at Beetle, and Beetle began to wonder if maybe she hadn’t gone too far. She had known better than to come into the forge without permission. But Goldspice wouldn’t give permission. At least... not to her. She was still just a cub.
Finally, Beetle found her voice. “Please, Goldspice. I just wanted to know...” her voice trailed off, and she finally looked away. “Never mind,” she told the smith. “I know I shouldn’t have come in here, not without your approval. I’ll leave.”
Beetle knelt, moving to place the geode back in its pouch, and felt Goldspice’s hand touch her shoulder again. The pressure on her shoulder let her know she should stand, so she did. She didn’t want to turn around and listen to what Goldspice might have to say, but she knew she should. Turning, she saw the hint of a smile on Goldspice’s face.
“What did you want to know?” Goldspice asked, curiosity in her voice.
Coyote had told her that Goldspice was a curious one, and that if Beetle could find that side of the smith, she might find a way into the forge. It seemed her brother had been right. Beetle smiled. If Goldspice was really that curious, as curious as Beetle herself, it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Beetle held up the egg-shaped rock, and started talking.