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Snips and Snails



Grumbling slighly to himself, Haatha Chaas'-Eighth put out the platter of meat-scraps and settled down to wait.

It didn't take long – perhaps half an hour – before his quarry arrived: about fifteen hatchlings, barely coming up to Haatha's digitigrade ankles. They swarmed over the meat-scraps, snapping and hissing at each other as they gorged.

The Mmsar poet sighed and waded into the mass of them, thick boots stopping their attempted attacks on his feet, equally tough gloves allowing him to pick them up and wrap the tagging collars around their tiny necks. He had to hold his tail up high, since he'd forgotten to wrap it. Their baby-teeth wouldn't get through his scales, but they could probably pinch something fierce.

Curse whoever clutched on Chaas-property anyway, he thought as he shook off one who'd buried its teeth in his glove. Little trash-eating creatures. At least Sahna's School will come and pick them up if they're tagged.

He made a grab for the last one, a runty, ugly-gray, scrawny thing, but it ducked, dodged, and ran out between his legs. By the time he turned around, the last hatchling had vanished into the night. And curse my adult slowness, Haatha sighed. It had been a long time since he'd been an immature neuter, built for speed and hunting over thought, but he still remembered scraps of his pre-sapient youth.

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