Early efforts in chocobo breeding were hair-pulling exercises in frustration.
Oh, I tempted the three chocobos I had seen earlier along the red mountain ridge home without problems with gysahl greens.
They kept hopping the fenced pen I had nicely set up for them outside the cottage.
(Now converted into a cow pen, along with a stray sheep who thinks it’s a cow.)
I also realized that all of them were females.
Which prompted another surroundings-spanning search for the rare, elusive male chocobo.
I eventually found one in the snowy taiga, and figured out that males had a colorful feathered crest. Bringing it back, I bred it with one of the females using a rare mutant version of the gysahl green I was farming.
The baby chicobo promptly ran out of the pen when I opened the fence gate to leave.
By the time I herded and prodded it back inside, another two chocobos had hopped the fence again.
It was about then that I realized a simple fenced pen wasn’t going to suffice, and that I had drastically underestimated how much space I was going to need to breed the birds.
Efforts in chocobo breeding were abandoned for a week as I patiently sawed, smelted and mined, amassing large quantities of red cobblestone to turn into brick, fir planks and lots of glass panes.
There were nights of balancing precariously on high, sniping back at skeleton archers who thought to knock me off, and taking out creepers before they ruined construction efforts.
Finally, the chocobo barn was complete.
I moved the by-now-entirely-escaped birds into their new home even before the final finishing touches of glass were complete, whereupon the baby chicobo again tried to drown itself by getting stuck in the cauldron for drinking water.
Patience with the avian brain eventually paid off with the birth of the first non-wild type mutant, a green-feathered chick.
This variety, according to the Chocopedia, which had now become my reference for all things to do with the chirping creatures, was supposed to be more adept at climbing than the regular yellow ones.
I guess it was just as well that they now had a new climb-proof housing.
I grew more and more gysahl greens in the search of the lovely and golden variants that would tempt them to breed. Plenty of bonemeal fertilizer got involved.
I was starting to drown in regular old gysahls. There were only so many gysahl pickles I could cook and eat.
I was starting to drown in chocobo feathers.
I was starting to drown in chocobos.
Then came the day they refused to breed.
I think they ran out of space. The overpopulation made them unreceptive to approaching their mates. Oh, they ate my rare gysahls, but refused to move after, or give birth to more babies.
I debated slaughtering some of the ordinary yellows for food.
But… they were all named already, and I didn’t have the heart to kill them in front of their fellows, or to lead them out unsuspecting only to cut their throats.
There was only one thing left to do.
They got a second barn.
The birds were living in a bigger space than I was.
It was around this time, during one of the mining trips in between mad chocobo breeding, that I met the shade with purple eyes again.
It did not look happy.
It was not a pleasant meeting.
We exchanged furious blows, with it teleporting in and out, and me relentlessly chasing it down.
I could have sworn at one point that I struck a killing blow, but then it healed, that strange twin-lived being and again vanished before I could strike it down once more.
On a second trip, I had the fright of my life when I thought I saw TWO pairs of purple eyes in the dark.
Surely there cannot be two of them…
Tell me I did not create a second shade in that earlier fight…
A night or two after that, there was yet again a resounding crash-thud in the dark.
Unsuspecting, I walked along the northeast path, my usual path, the path I had always walked… to the tower, to Weisferd, the albatross path…
…to find that there was something entirely new.