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If you were to ask Sophodra's customers to guess why she was so fascinated with gubs, they would most likely tell you that she has to know her enemies to do her job, even if that made her a weirdo.

If you asked Sophodra herself, she would tell you that they're called vertebrates and not “gubs”.

But, originally, the actual answer to that question was spite.

It's a truth universally acknowledged that no matter what the dominant thought on something is, contrarians will always emerge against it, to either hate the popular thing or love the hated one.

She just so happened to have been the latter kind of contrarian when it came to vertebrates.

Yes, it was indeed out of spite that Sophodra had originally decided to like the very creatures everyone else she knew hated. However, learning more about those creatures was what, over time, had turned that spite into genuine interest.

So it only made sense to her that she would give back by submitting her own orchideo piece to the Formicosa City repository. She was no Professor Gregorsa, and was not trying to be, but she hoped her experience would get more people interested in the strange world of vertebrates.

She had finally made & deposited her first Sophodra's Tip, and was about to leave the repository, when she spotted a nest of pigeons hidden in a hole in the wall.

Oh no. She did not want to deal with this on her day off, but she could not just ignore it either. She could inform an employee, but they were likely to try to kill the pigeons, which would only cause more mess as the birds panicked. And as someone who's had had pigeon poop on her before, Sophodra did not wish that fate on her worst enemies.

She did not have her gear right now, but she had the next best thing : snacks. In her line of work, it was crucial to always carry snacks in an air-tight container at all times just in case. And the “air-tight” part was crucial.

She slowly, carefully grabbed the container from wherever she was hiding it. The very second she opened it, she was instantly swarmed by an entire flock of pigeons coming from every direction.

Oh dear, it wasn't just this one nest...

They were furiously pecking at her claws now in an attempt to make her drop the tasty snail egg.

Instead, she threw it outside as hard as her mantis limbs could (which wasn't as far as she would have liked) before the pigeons would start pooping.

Sophodra could smell an employee coming to investigate, so she quickly ran out and shut the door behind her to avoid being spotted by them.

The pigeons were now mercilessly pecking at the egg. The mantis walked around it, giving the birds as much space as she could. This snack should keep them occupied long enough for Sophodra to go pick up what she needed to re-home them properly.

Or so she thought.

As soon as she arrived back home, she received a message from a customer... at the repository. They needed her services to get rid of the pigeons and all the other critters their poops (which were everywhere on the outside of the building) had attracted.

Ugh. Sophodra would usually charge double for working on her day off, but she would settle for only a 50% increase this time. Because she was in a good mood and not at all because she was responsible for anything that might have happened, please don't look into it, employees of the repository...

She picked up her gear and headed back out. The work never really stopped.


End Notes

Sophodra's journey from liking "gubs" out of spite to genuinely appreciating them may or may not have been inspired by my own journey of spider appreciation. These little critters deserve someone in their corner! ^^

Created by Rev Storm CC BY-NC-SA 4.0