Supply trips to the Nether weren’t uncommon.
Sure, their little cabin houses held double chests upon double chests of supplies, deeming them probably one of the richest people in the world, but a supply check never hurt, did it? They couldn’t afford to lack ingredients now, couldn’t afford to be missing anything crucial that could cost them greatly.
So when Phil noticed their ghast tear supply lacking, he hadn’t hesitated to drag Techno to the hot dimension by his arm, cape, tusks or ears if he had to. They weren’t going to have a drop in supplies, not if the avian could help it.
And the trip has turned out to go smoothly, without much trouble. Well, little to no trouble.
It really was a blessing and big advantage to be traveling with Techno. Phil almost felt like he was cheating life when they walked past a hoard of piglins eyeing their full netherite sets sharply, taking the lack of gold as a warning sign. But one of them made a questioning, wary huff, scarred ear full of earrings flicking this way and that, and all it took was for Techno to make the exact same sound back, except more friendly and reassuring.
It was almost magic. They all lost interest, turning around to get back to their own hobbies and whatever it was they were doing before the two of them slammed into the red island floors.
Given the fact Phil has had many embarrassing near-death experiences with piglins too wary about his lack of golden protection, the way the crowd almost parted for them made him smile triumphantly.
“Thanks for savin’ us back there,” Phil threw it out there with a hesitant smile, their heavy boots clinging against the netherrack that grew soft red moss all over it. The lava flowing around them left a hot feeling on his skin, almost similar to sun if it wasn’t so intimidating. “What’d you say to ‘em?”
The question left Techno confused, eyebrows quirking up in confusion as his tail caught a stray piece of netherrack, forcing the piglin to take the thing into his hands softly and dig the rock out of the soft fur. “I jus’ said hello. They greeted me first, it’d have been rude not to greet ‘em back.”
It wasn’t until much later that it clicked, when they were finally setting up camp and Phil was trying his hardest to get a fire going that the two were approached by a lonesome animal. As the flames crackled to life, a little stray cat poked its head through the bushes and inched closer to the warmth, hackles raised.
Phil smiled at the sight, wings swiftly folding against his back to make himself seem smaller. Orange light framed his hand as he reached out to let the cat sniff his fingers. The little feline pushed its nose against the pale skin, snout wet and cold, until it hissed and skittishly ran to tangle around Techno’s legs.
A frown grew on Phil’s face as Techno’s chuckles grew louder. “Of course it’s gonna like you more.”
He paused the sharpening of his sword to look down at the cat, piglin ears flicking as he crouched and let his tail sway curiously. The feline sat down and stared back into his eyes, ears pressed flat against its head.
The cat meowed.
Techno didn’t hesitate to make his own “meow”, ear flicking in Phil’s direction as the man burst into laughter.
“D’ya just greet every single creature?”
“The cat greeted me first- it’d be rude- Philza- Phil! Stop laughing!”
Almost experimentally, Phil decides to ask Ranboo for a quick favor. The boy was a hybrid himself, and with the boy’s admirable ability to also befriend most animals on sight, Phil asked him to let a fox visit the tundra. Just for a little, no need to tame it or give it home, but just… for science.
It’s a cute little thing, fur as white as Steve’s, eyes holding barely any thoughts as the little fox munches on some berries Ranboo dropped off as well. Techno doesn’t understand, looks at Phil like he’s grown a head or two. “Are we keepin’ it? I thought we already had enough pets in the cabin?”
And then the cute little thing meets Techno’s glance, and lets out a little squeak, bordering a cheerful yip.
And to Phil’s lung-killing amusement, Techno repeats it right back with his own tone before resuming. “It’ll get crowded-”
Phil is very well losing his shit.
“Oh my- Phil, is this about the greet thing again- it’d be rude not to greet back- shut up!”
Phil is gonna die.
His little experiment continues its trek as he decides to test the limits, bit by bit.
Maybe, in another time, decades ago where Techno’s stare was hard and cold and he still flinched whenever Phil passed behind him, out of sight, he’d consider this… experimentation a little out of hand. Even a little rude, perhaps.
But it’s just lighthearted fun now, and Techno’s his old friend of many, many years. The piglin survived death and a half, he could surely handle a little fun from his old friend.
And so, right the next morning, Phil interrupted Techno’s rushed breakfast of bread and butter to pull him into the bee farm, claiming an emergency.
“Did they die?” Techno questions as Phil pulls open the door, rushing the both of them into the warm room. “Got poisoned? Queen died? What’s wrong?”
Phil stayed silent, watching as the piglin hurriedly checked the hives and machines. Bees flew around him and settled in his hair, let down and a little messy as he just woke up not too long ago, buzzing. He absentmindedly hissed back, the noise imitating the buzzing of the little yellow creatures around him as he poked around the nests to ensure their safety. “They seem just fine to me, Phil. Phil? Phil, why are you laughing, what-”
The next part of his experiment is unplanned.
Really, Phil hadn’t planned for it to progress this far, but it happens before he can even realise it.
It’s just a simple hunt for shipwrecks, temples, anything they can get their hands on. Techno has been itching for a totem of undying for a while now, the absence of one constantly putting him on edge. A mansion wouldn’t be a bad find either.
Of course, it’s not uncommon for them to get sidetracked. Techno had a big tendency to get distracted and forget the task at hand, and Phil simply loved him too much to pull him away from the exciting, short-lived tasks.
So here they were, exploring a deep ravine.
And, like, it’s not that Phil disliked running into endermen, they were just a pain to deal with.
As soon as the deep ender rumble echoes through the cave, Phil’s feathers ruffle and his wings are ready to carry him away.
That is, until Techno repeats the noise and moves on.
Phil watches him mine some lapis, mouth opened in a question he didn’t know.
“This should be enough lapis for now,” Techno turns to him, holding out the stacks of lapis until he sees the expression on Phil’s face. “Phil?”
“How the fuck did you mimic an enderman?”
“Ender and piglin are pretty close in pronunciation. It’s really not that hard. ‘nyway, the lapis-”
“-what the fuck, what the fuck-”
“-the lapis, Phil!”