Soon Tex could hear footsteps approaching the general vicinity of his hole. Careful to remain unnoticed, he lifted his neck slightly to catch a glimpse of the approaching figures.
There were two of them, a human and a dog. The human was obviously a scav: her gaunt face was riddled with pock-marks, warts and scars, and the left side of her torso and her left arm were grossly overgrown and muscled due to some vile mutation. The shoulder and forearm of the mutated limb were dotted with jagged bone growths. She was of a lean but sinewy build, with sparse white hair covering her scalp. She was armed with a homemade shotgun slung on her shoulder.
The mangy hound next to her was a sad sight: bony and malnourished, with few patches of matted fur dotting its scar-covered body.
Suddenly Tex froze, as he saw the mutt sniffing the air, looking directly towards his hideaway. As the dog started loping towards him, Tex begun a silent prayer to the Emperor, hoping the heavy air of the underhive would be enough to mask his scent.
Soon the hound, still sniffing intently, was close enough to touch Tex's sleeping bag. He held his breath, his heartbeat steadily rising with every passing second. Please don't make a sound, please don't make a sound....
Then the dog barked.
Tex felt every muscle in his body tense and a warm feeling spreading from his groin as his bladder emptied itself. This further aggravated the dog, whose barking intensified in volume.
Suddenly, the barking was cut short by a growl from the scavvy tracker. "Fangsy, QUIET! One more bark and I'll make a meal of you, you goddamn mutt..."
Looking back towards his master and then to Tex again, the dog let out a small whimper, but eventually returned to the tracker's side. The pair continued on, leaving the potter's field of view.
Tex, now shaking like a particularly delicate leaf in a particularly violent storm, let out a small sigh of relief and decided to find a better hiding place at the earliest opportunity.
The faint sounds of barking echoing below roused Cairistiana from her restless sleep. Unthinkingly, she started looking for her data-monocle to check the time - surely there were still a few more hours of time for sleep... then her brain started processing what she had heard.
Barking? If there were wild dogs living here, she certainly hadn't seen any. The worrying implications acting as a potent stimulus, she started wiggling her way out of her sleeping bag, causing several others to stir with her flailing, before she was stopped by the hermit's low voice.
"You'd best stay put, Guilder." Babayj was sitting on the edge of her bed, long rifle leveled at Cairistiana. "You heard those barks too, didn't you? Wild dogs wouldn't come this close. I've taught them the hard way."
The guilder gulped, staring down the barrel of the gun. Her mind was still trying to put the situation together. Seeing her guest wasn't going to speak, the hermit continued.
"So that means there's somebody down there. And there ain't nodoby around these parts except me and the scavvies."
Cairistiana nodded. Hard to deny that line of reasoning. The silence kept stretching for what felt like minutes as Babayj examined the guilder.
"Hmph. You don't seem the type to work with scavvies, so that means they're after you."
Cairistiana nodded again.
"And that means there's going to be a whole bunch of them, if there isn't already. All headed to my home." The hermit's eyes narrowed menacingly.
Feeling she had to try and take control of the situation before the hermit did anything too rash, Cairistiana finally spoke up.
"I'm sorry... I didn't think they'd catch up to us this quickly. We weren't even sure if there was any pursuit at all... but whatever happens now, we're standing in the same shit-drain. We can deal with this together."
Babayj snorted disapprovingly. "Or I could just put a pretty bow on you and throw you to the scavs."
Cairistiana bit her lip and was about to answer, until suddenly sensing movement from behind her...