Bryn had made the decision to stop by the blacksmith's forge first, the same place his father had told him to go if he got into trouble. He knew from hearsay that magical gems could be utilized in smithing to make stronger weapons and armor.
Henceforth, there was a chance the smith would give him a better deal for the rank two earth wolf's magical gem. A reasonable deduction. However, that was not the only reason...
"Judging from yer looks, you must be George's boy, eh? What can I do fer you?" The dwarf grunted.
"Uncle Grum! Don't act like you don't recognize me!" Bryn was indignant at the way the dwarf addressed him.
"Heh, last time I saw ye, ye were this tall..." Grum put a hand to his chest representing Bryn's former height. "What can I do for ye boy?"
Bryn looked around, reached into his pocket, and pulled out the green magic stone before handing it to Grum.
Luis, who was examining the large red salamander, suddenly felt a chill trickle down his spine. Using an instinct he didn't understand, he turned and locked his eyes with a man who was staring intently at the exchange between the drawf and Bryn.
The blond haired man was dressed like several others he had seen, wearing a mix of leather and metal armor. He had a curved sword at his waist, and a thoughtful smile was on his face.
What is this? Is he a threat? Luis' instinct was telling him to be wary of this man. Why or how, he didn't understand. He just felt that the man was a threat in some manner.
Strange... Luis took a mental note of this. Bryn however, was completely oblivious, as was the dwarf.
"A rank two magic stone... Grum whispered softly, spinning the gemstone carefully in his hand. Out of nowhere, he barked his offer. "Six gold, not a copper more!"
Bryn was about to demand a higher price when the dwarf cut him off by raising his other hand.
"Yer father told you to haggle me I presume. He is smart enough to know he can get at least five gold fer this. That's why I gave ye the extra gold for yer trouble. Yer welcome, now stop."
Bryn felt that this was not quite the lesson in haggling his father had in mind, but the prospect of a whole gold piece to himself was too tempting to risk. "Deal!"
Revealing a rare smile, the dwarf pocketed the gem, left, and returned with the gold. Handing the small pouch to Bryn he inquired. "I see you have a beast following ye..." Grum left the rest of the question unsaid.
Reaching into one of his many pockets, the dwarf tossed Luis a piece of dried meat. Merely reacting accordingly, Luis caught the jerky with his mouth, and found it to be delicious, chomping on it gratefully.
The red salamander on the other hand, narrowed its eyes, a look of betrayal on its face as Grum patted Luis' smooth head.
"Yea, about that I wanted to ask you if he..." Bryb started before Grum cut him off again, believing he knew what he was going to be asked.
"I wouldn't worry about it boy. No one would bother trying to take yer beast. He looks like he is only rank one, and rank one beast cores and stones are worthless.
They contain too little energy to be used for anything, and any if any pitiful fellow tried to sell one, they'd be lucky to recieve fifty coppers. Not worth the effort..."
Bryn nodded, his knowledge regarding magic stones slightly increased. However, this wasn't his question.
"What I wanted to ask was if you know what he is? What kind of magical beast?"
Grum bent down and scratched the base of Luis' neck, who shivered in pleasure from the touch. "I'm afraid not boy, but I would check the bestiary at the guild. Maybe you'll find some clues about this here beast."
Bryn nodded and left after saying goodbye with Luis following behind. Next stop, the guild! Bryn's somber mood from before considerably brightened. The guild was the place he hoped to frequent in the future, after he became an adventurer himself.
The building the duo stopped in front of was in the close to town square. It was large, approximately two stories, and a big sign was hung over the double door.
On the sign, there was a symbol of a large iron shield. The most identifiable feature though, was that the walls of the building were made of white stone. Very few buildings were made of stone in this city, not including the walls, and Luis assumed they were all important in some way.
Bryn took a deep breath and opened the door. Luis followed Bryn as he walked in. The interior reminded Luis of the DMV.
People were in line to meet three separate receptionists behind windows cut into a wooden wall. Around the space, there were tables where various people sat, mostly men and a couple women. There was a bulliten board on a nearby wall with papers pinned to it
Luis noticed that everyone minus the receptionists and Bryn were dressed in various levels of armor and carrying all manner of different weapons. Soldiers? No, there was no uniformity. They more closely resembled mercenaries... Luis couldn't be certain. Most of the people here yelled out greetings when Bryn entered.
Several even came over and clapped him on the back, talking excitedly. Bryn returned their enthusiasm. He must come here often... Luis was made aware of Bryn's popularity among these people.
Some dialogue was exchanged, the Bryn pointed to Luis. All at once, Luis found himself suddenly surrounded by a large group of men and woman, all much larger than him and carrying sharp looking weapons.
Luis felt a cold sweat trickle down his back, mentally of course. They all started poking and prodding him with their hands, much to his annoyance. These people are lucky I am patient... Grumbled Luis internally. Otherwise, several of them would have lost fingers from their invasive touching.
"Wow, he really is docile!" One of the adventurers observed, impressed at the beast's patience. A normal magical beast would be too nervous to be surrounded by humans like this.
"He is quite cute too!" Observed a well built female adventurer. "You are very lucky to have a cute magical beast following you around. Grumpy ol' Grum's salamander pales in comparison..." She rubbed Luis' small head, cooing softly.
Luis' dignity demanded he not be embarrassed by the cooing sound this woman was making to him. He was not a child.
Bryn asked them all what their plans were, and they explained they were going to go hunting for beast cores and stones as a group. Humans were always stronger and safer in numbers. Bryn was brimming with jealousy, wishing he could join them.
Suddenly, Luis felt a familiar chill going down his back, pinpointing the source of the feeling, he saw a man sitting at a table in the corner covered in a long robe that concealed his body. His face was hidden, but Luis could somehow tell he was looking over.
Strange... The feeling was the same as what he felt before, but it lacked the sharpness of hostility he felt from the previous man. Basically, he sensed that the man was dangerous, but not currently a threat. Huh...
After some more dialogue was exchanged, Bryn eventually moved towards a set of stairs, heading up into the unknown. As he climbed, Luis found he had a lot of trouble following. He had to hop up each step, and the imbalance from only having one front leg made it relatively difficult.
His perseverance paid off, and he was greeted with a large assortment of shelves covered wall to wall with books. A couple people were standing around searching for particular books, while others were sitting at a long table in the center, reading silently.
A library... This was not what he was expecting, but it provided him with an opportunity. I can show him! This was his chance to prove his true intelligence and convince Bryn to teach him the language.
Bryn walked up to a podium standing in the center of the library. A thick worn tome was resting atop it. The bestiary! Bryn was glad no one had taken it yet. Grabbing the massive book, he brought it to the table. Getting comfortable, he started flipping through it.
Luis hopped up onto the table, gathering various glances. No one, however, bothered to stop him, and he soon was ignored. Luis watched over Bryn's shoulder as he flipped through the tome.
As the pages turned, pictures of all kinds of beasts followed by lines of writing greeted his eyes. Some creatures looked like familiar animals, while others were new to Luis. These look quite interesting! Luis wished he could read it!
Bryn stopped at a particular page that had a picture even Luis recognized. Bryn read the general description.
Elemental wolf... a common magical beast. They are so named by the elemental affinity they bear. Commonly seen elemental affinities of these wolves include wind and earth. A rarer variant of elemental wolf with the affinity of fire has been recorded near areas rich with fire elemental energy. No recorded cases of a water elemental wolf varient have been documented.
However, there have been documented encounters with an extremely rare shadow affinty elemental wolf, but these encounters are incredibly uncommon. No cases of aberrant elemental variant types have been recorded.
The elemental energy of an elemental wolf manifests itself as a stone embedded in the skull or chest of the wolf. Rarer cases will see it embedded on the stomach. Elemental wolves have been documented to grow up to rank three. However, rank two is by far the most comman rank these wolves mature at...
The book continued on in great detail, describing elemental wolf habits, strengths, weaknesses, and effective methods of killing for all listed affinity variants.
"So, you killed one of these huh?" Bryn whispered to Luis who was still staring at the page. Luis was looking specifically at the handwriting...
Bryn continued to flip through the book, curious to see if he could find out what type of magical beast Luis was. Sadly, the book wasn't really organized, and there was no rhyme or reason where magical beasts were placed in the book.
It was like they were recorded in the exact order of their discovery, which made searching for a particular beast difficult. However, it was necessary for an up and coming adventurer to study the whole thing anyway if he wanted to be prepared for hunting in the border woods.
Knowledge was power, and the information in here could save a person's life.
The book listed most of the known and recorded magical beasts. According to the book, a magical beast constituted any wild beast able to manipulate and use elemental essence. The element they were able to manipulate was what classified its affinity. These included the standard elements of wind, water, earth, and fire.
There were also the incredibly rare light and shadow elemental affinities. Even finding one and reporting a magic beast with these affinities could set someone up for life, for even the most powerful people on the continent would seek them out. The reason for this was due to the certain abilities and effects elemental affinities provided the user.
Fire granted a person or magical beast the ability to manipulate fire, which was deadly on its own. It could be applied in various ways such as making weapons or claws burn the victim or causing explosions with concentrated fire energy. The stones and cores of fire beasts with a fire affinity could even be used as explosives themselves.
People and beasts with a wind affinity could become like the wind. Essentially, it granted a speed boost. At higher levels, one could even use their power to fly. With enough control, wind could also become a deadly weapon.
Earth affinity granted strong defence and natural regeneration in the form of increased vitality. Higher ranking beasts with this affinity in particular were considered nearly impossible to kill.
Water affinty was less common among land creatures, but it essentially granted the ability to manipulate water. Its biggest strength was actually its heavy suppression of those with fire affinity, but it also had several minor uses, including breathing underwater, internal temperature regulation, and increased bodily flexibility, among other things.
Light and shadow affinities were not as detailed in the bestiary. In short, light had incredible healing properties and damage capability for those who wielded it while shadow affinity offered those who had it incredible stealth potential. Any more detail with regard to those two were likely only available for qualified adventurers.
There were other special magical affinity types too, collectively known as abberants, which were extreme manifestations of the four basic elements. Information on those however, was only available, again, to qualified members of the guild.
I wonder what affinity you have... Bryn glanced at Luis, who was studying the book intently. Smiling, Byrn started scratching the base of Luis' neck, who could no longer concentrate on the book due to the pleasure.
Bryn had looked all over the body of Luis searching for a stone, but never found any. You must have a core then... Bryn naturally assumed.
According to the book, all magical beasts have either a core or stone that represents the culmination of their magical power. If it's on the outside body of the magical beast, then it's a stone. If it's inside, it's a core. The beasts that manifest a stone somewhere on the body typically have their physique enhanced by the beneficial effects of their element.
For example, a wind wolf, when using its magic power, was able to lighten its body and increase its speed drastically. An earth wolf, on the other hand, was able to harden its body to incredible levels, making it able to resist many otherwise fatal attacks.
Magical beasts with a core leaned more towards powerful elemental attacks. The most famous example was the firebreath of a red dragon. Bryn sighed in awe as he imagined it.
Dragons were considered the most powerful magical beasts, and grew naturally to rank seven, where they developed their iconic wings. They were recorded to be fiercely intelligent, essentially sentient, and rumor has it that they even built their own society in the years they have been absent from this half of the continent.
Dragons lived somewhere on the other side of the border forest. Bryn wished he could meet some. However, there was only one problem, dragons detested humans and humans feared and fought against dragons. According to history books, this was due to a war that occurred several hundred years ago... Bryn tried to recall the history.
Flipping through the rest of the book, Bryn was unable to discover anything that clued him in on Luis' species. It was highly possible that whatever he was hadn't been discovered and recorded yet.
Scritch... Scritch... Scritch...
Bryn looked over to see what was making that scratching noise, only to discover that Luis was scratching the table with his claw. Although the table wasn't anything fancy, Bryn didn't want his reputation ruined for defacing furniture. "Hey! Stop that!" Bryn swatted Luis' claw away. He moved to inspect the damage when suddenly his heart stopped.
"Elemental... magical... wind... affinity," Bryn whispered breathlessly. He couldn't believe what he was reading.
Luis, while Bryn had been reading and recalling information from the book, had been busy trying to copy markings from the most common symbols he saw from the same book. Judging by Bryn's reaction, he had succeeded in thoroughly shocking the poor boy.
Luis made eye contact with Bryn and while he was still stunned, pointed at the words he drew, then to the book, and finally back to himself. Please understand... Luis prayed.
Bryn's mind was working at a million miles a minute. He actually wrote... words. A magical beast was writing words! Watching Luis' gestures, a mind exploding revelation dawned upon Bryn.
"He wants me... he wants me to teach him to read?"