Bryn was quite excited. This is an adventure! He whistled cheerfully as he prepared the rabbit stew over the nice warm fire. "Hey dad, what do you think we will find out here?"
His father, a rather large rugged looking man with brown hair and eyes, looked across the fire at his son fondly. "Let us pray we find something of value soon my boy." He stoked the fire a bit more.
"What exactly are we looking for?" Bryn asked as he dipped the wooden bowl in the soup and passed it over to his father.
Taking the bowl gratefully, he took a few bites before elaborating. "Son, when two higher ranking magical beasts fight, they often leave whole areas of destruction and carnage in their wake."
He took another bite. "If we're lucky, we might find the corpses of lower ranking magical beasts that were unable to escape the danger. If we can find even one, then we may be able to turn our misfortune around." He handed the bowl back to his son for a refill.
Taking the bowl, Bryn nodded in understanding before he asked another question. "Then, isn't this area unsafe for us if there are magical beasts around?" Magical beasts, even the lowest ranking ones, we're considered dangerous and tough to deal with by ordinary commoners.
The father smiled. "Indeed, this is usually the case. However, the circumstances are in our favor." He leaned forward slightly, as if he was telling his son a secret. The son tuned his attention to not miss the explanation.
"You see my boy, the earthquake we felt could have only been created by very powerful magical beasts. When high ranking beasts fight, the energies they release scare away any lower ranking beasts not wishing to be eaten or killed by the stronger beasts.
However, their fights also attract the attention of even higher ranked magical beasts who would likely seek out the source to try and take advantage of the situation. In normal circumstances, this would mean the area where they fought would be extra dangerous, but this is not the case for us. The key lies in our location..."
The father paused as he son handed him another filled bowl. Taking a swig from his water-skin, the father continued. "You see son, we are are still in what would be considered the edge of the border forest. We have yet to go deeper, where there are far more magical beasts. Where we are, even a lowest ranked magical beast is a rarity. For there to be magical beasts of this power here, is completely unheard of.
Therefore, when these two beasts fought, they likely scared away any lower ranked beasts not caught up in their destruction, and since it's highly unlikely this area has any higher ranked beasts than them, they have essentially created an area devoid of magical beast presence. This makes it safe for us."
Wow, Bryn was quite impressed with his father's wisdom. Grinning, Bryn sarcastically replied. "You are smarter than you look, old man!"
"It's called experience you brat!" The father grinned as he shook his head, continuing to eat the stew. A comfortable silence fell upon the duo as they sipped their warm broth.
"You must still be wary boy," The father started. Bryn titled his head up to listen. "Just because it's highly likely there won't be any magical beasts around, doesn't mean it's impossible. If magical beasts become desperate, they may act in the same manner we are, taking great risk for possible gain. If we encounter one that isn't injured, we will err on the side of caution and flee. Do you understand?"
Bryn nodded vigorously, his adventurous spirit undeterred by his father's word of warning. In fact, he was secretly hoping to run into a magical beast, just to see one with his own eyes. The young are often foolish this way.
Seeing the sparkle in his son's eye, the father knew his warning was falling on deaf ears. Well, I was the same way once... Rolling his eyes, the father continued to eat in silence, enjoying the warmth of the fire.
All of the sudden, they heard a shuffling sound a little distance away. Both father and son glanced at each other, dropped their bowls and picked up the spears they had laying by the fire, bracing themselves to fight. A small figure made its way into their view.
Luis finally made it the the source of the fire. The heavenly scent from whatever they were cooking had him drooling uncontrollably, his saliva pooling on the scruff of the wolf he was dragging. When he came around a tree and finally saw the two humans, a little ball of hope he had been keeping in chest shattered.
Luis could hear them speaking to each other in a language he had never heard before, and they were dressed in winter furs holding spears in his direction. I'm...not on Earth anymore, at least, the Earth I knew... Several clues had already made that perfectly clear, but hope doesn't always agree with reason, and he had been secretly hoping he would stumble upon a few campers wearing blue jeans. He would then write out his situation with his claw and somehow make it back to his... family.
That had been the true hope, that he would see his family again. The memories of his former life were the only things that kept him going when he was trapped in the egg. The knowledge that he would likely never see them again... that hurt like no physical pain could.
The two humans backed away from the fire as Luis inched closer to it, dragging along the corpse of the wolf. Once he got near the fire, he released the wolf and sat back on his haunches, trying to enjoy the warmth of the fire while simultaneous trying to make himself seem as harmless as possible.
Meanwhile, the father son due watched in stunned silence. They had backed away from the fire as the unknown beast dragged along what seemed to be the corpse of a...
"Son... do you realize what that is?" The father motioned toward the corpse that the white scaled creature dropped, not taking his eyes off the lizard. Bryn swallowed his saliva and answered. "Father, if I'm not mistaken, that appears to be the corpse of a rank two earth wolf.
It has that gemstone on its forehead. They use the power of earth to heal from wounds quickly and can use the same power to strengthen their defenses. Very tough to kill for ordinary commoners..."
The father felt pride at his son's answer. So he had been studying the bestiary... He couldn't help but feel overjoyed. The magic stones of magical beasts could be sold for many gold.
Doing some quick calculations in his mind, he estimated he could sell it for at least five gold, more than enough to cover his crippling debt of three gold and twelve silvers. If nothing else happened, this risky venture was already a huge success.
"Father... look" Bryn's shocked voice broke his father out of his distracted state. The white... lizard was motioning towards the pot of stew with his claw and pointing back to himself. It was eerily human-like. Looking closer, the father realized that the white lizard was missing an arm. It was crippled.
"Father, what is it?" Bryn asked motioning to the white lizard with his spear. He was filled with anticipation. Was this a magical beast as well? What kind was it? What was its attribute? It certainly looked unique, but the part of the bestiary he had studied never mentioned a creature like this. Upon closer inspection, it looked kind of cute with its fat limbs and flat, smooth head.
"I'm not sure son." He had likewise never heard or read about any creature such as this. The stand-off continued for some time, with the white lizard repeating its gesture over and over again.
"Dad, I think... I think it's asking if it can have some soup..." The son spoke in a kind of fascinated disbelief. The father's first instinct was to laugh it off as a ridiculous statement, but even he couldn't deny how obvious the gestures of the white lizard were.
Being the first to react, the son nodded his head exaggeratedly and pointed to the soup, then to the lizard. The lizard nodded, it immediately dipped its face into the pot and began slurping the soup. Bryn was growing giddy with amazement. What an intelligent creature! Bryn couldn't contain his awe.
The duo watched as the lizard drained two-thirds of the pot and let out a burp. It then pointed at the dead wolf and back to them as if to say "You can have this."
Bryn's smile threatened to split his skull. "Dad, I think he is saying we can have the wolf as thanks for the soup..."
The father remained much more wary and skeptical, but even he couldn't deny how incredible the creature was acting. It was almost... human... Although the father couldn't help but internally grumble that he didn't need the lizard's permission to take the wolf in a vain attempt to ward off the incredulity he was feeling.
After getting its point across, the lizard scooted closer to the fire, dipped his head towards them as if it was bowing, and curled around itself. Bryn felt like he might explode after witnessing this. "Father, this is the most marvelous creature I have ever seen!" Unable to curb his enthusiasm, Bryn dropped the spear and walked right up to the lizard.
"Son wait!" The father warned quickly, but his warning was completely ignored. Bryn examined the lizard closely. If it stood up, it would likely only reach my thighs... Bryn guessed its size. Upon realizing how close the human was, the lizard lifted it head tilted it slightly as if to express confusion. Bryn smiled widely and slowly reached out his hand to touch the head of the lizard.
The father, witnessing this, tensed up his entire body, ready to attack the second things went wrong. No tragedies occurred however, and the father was once again stunned speechless as his son stroked the scaly skin of the lizard's head, which seemed to be leaning into Bryn's touch.
It was simply a miracle. The father had never seen such a docile and friendly beast before. His son moved his hand down and began scratching the base of its neck. As its leg started to twitch, Bryn laughed loudly. "It's like a dog!" He continued to scratch before he noticed the scales on its left hind leg were dyed dark red and black. Its injured...
"Father, pass me the water-skin!" Bryn asked as he examined the wound closer. The bite marks were consistent with the jaw size of the wolf. If didn't take a genius to figure out that they had fought.
After a moments hesitation, the father tossed his son his water-skin, and Bryn began cleaning the wound. The lizard growled as he did so, but made no attempt to attack him. Once the wounds were cleaned, Bryn patted the head of the lizard. "Better?"
After a brief pause, the lizard stuck out its tongue and rubbed it across his face. It licked me! That was the final straw for Bryn. "That's it. Father, I'm keeping it!" Bryn concluded with finality.
Seeing that it appeared to be harmless, the father moved towards the corpse of the wolf to examine how it was killed, keeping his hands on his spear. Finding the charred hole through the wolf's neck, he couldn't help but glance at the lizard, who's head was being rubbed affectionately by his son like it was a puppy.
"What a fascinating creature..."