Bryn had to take a moment to consider what he was seeing. In truth, he was intimidated by Luis' display of advanced intelligence. Even the smartest magical beasts were not this intelligent at rank one, the rank all magical beasts were born at.
He backed away slowly from Luis. "What if he's been tricking us this whole time... what if he's just waiting for us to let our guards down..."
However, Bryn paused at those thoughts. He remembered that this was the same lizard who let him scratch his neck and accompanied him everywhere. The same lizard who would entertain his little sister when she was bored and lick her when she cried.
From their time together, this lizard had done nothing but add joy to the family. That's what he was now... family. Bryn calmed down, the realization soothing his agitated soul.
No matter how terrifyingly smart the lizard was, he was now apart of their family. He didn't mean them any harm. In fact... Bryn began to smile.
Having such an intelligent magical beast by his side as a partner could only prove beneficial. Now that he wasn't panicking, Bryn's over active imagination took hold, imagining them hunting magical beasts side by side in the future. His smile widened.
Looking at Luis, he made a decision. "I really need to give you a proper name." All this time he had been calling him lizard or beast. That was not appropriate for a family member, but for now...
"You want to learn how to read?" Bryn asked Luis directly. Seeing Luis' blank look, Bryn smacked himself on the forehead, recognizing his stupidity. Picking up the book and facing it towards Luis, Bryn pointed at the words and back to Luis repeatedly.
Luis was thrilled! This was exactly the result he was after. To get his point across, Luis jumped up and down, nodding vigorously. Bryn laughed hard.
This was simply amazing. He was communicating effectively with a magic beast. He now couldn't wait to start teaching Luis to read. Bryn wondered what Luis would have to say...
Bryn flinched, realizing that they weren't the only two people on this floor and that they were making a lot of noise. Seeing someone walk over to tell him off, he quickly slid the bestiary over Luis' claw marks.
Bryn knew enough about the ways of the world to understand how special Luis' unbelievable intelligence was. In fact, if anyone else knew, it would certainly bring about a whole lot of trouble.
It will have to remain a secret between us... Bryn would explain this to Luis when he was able to understand.
"Will you both keep it down!" A stocky man whispered with authority. Glancing at Luis who was still on the furniture, he added another demand. "Get your beast off the table! This isn't a playground!"
Bryn nodded repeatedly while apologizing, trying to maintain an air of innocence. The man snorted and walked back to his seat, satisfied with the boy's response.
Although Bryn wanted nothing more than to start teaching Luis now, he still had matters to attend to. He would have to figure out a way to teach him in secret.
Bryn imagined how strange it would look teaching a lizard to read in the middle of a popular library. He chuckled at the thought. "Come on, let's go..." He motioned for Luis to follow.
Bryn stopped by a seed shop on the way out of the city, purchasing twelve bags of seeds for two gold and forty silver, nearly half of the money they had earned. He then paid an additional ten silver to have them delivered to his father's farm, leaving with exactly half of his father's money, not including the gold coin that was now his own.
Bryn was pleased at today's results. Usually, they would go into debt to buy the seeds needed for the farm, but now thanks to Luis and that earth wolf's magical gem, they now had excess money that could used to rid themselves of the majority of the debt from years prior.
Bryn walked through the gate, now crowded with people. A merchant caravan had just arrived and the two guards who pranked Bryn were too busy collecting taxes and inspecting goods to really bother them again.
As the walls receded into the distance, the amount of people on the main road decreased until it was just Bryn and Luis walking side by side. They came back to the familiar trail and turned left. Wait...
There was a figure about a hundred feet away, standing there as if he was waiting for them. Bryn was only slightly suspicious as the figure began to approach, but Luis felt a horrible premonition.
It was the blond man with the curved sword that had given him the bad feeling back at the blacksmith's. He still sensed he was dangerous, but now the sharp feeling of hostility was incredibly strong.
Luis didn't know how he knew, but he knew that this man meant them harm. Grabbing Bryn's pant leg with his teeth, Luis forced Bryn to stop.
Stepping in front of Bryn, Luis growled as the man approached with an amused smile. "Quite a loyal pet you have there..." The man started as if he was just here to have a normal conversation.
"Who are you? What do you want? How did you find out were I was going?" Bryn asked a series of rapid fire questions, obviously nervous from Luis' reaction. Magical beasts had better senses for danger than humans.
"Tsk. So many questions. Who I am doesn't matter, and you would be surprised how much you can learn by asking around..." The stranger pulled out his curved sword and inspected it.
"I'll keep this short kid. Give me the money you got from that rank two earth stone... or I will kill you." The blond man didn't beat around the bush as he laid bare his intentions.
Bryn gasped at the threat, fear evident in his voice. "How did you know about that?"
The man laughed. "You were quite foolish if you thought simply putting it in your pocket was enough to hide its presence, especially in front of a man like me..." A green glow appeared on his sword.
Bryn felt true despair. He's a magic knight! We're done for... There was no way they could fight and win against a magic knight of any rank. Bryn's legs started shaking, when he suddenly felt a sharp pain on his ankle. He bit me! Bryn stared at Luis in shock.
Luis had bit him to break him out of his frozen state. He then pulled on his pants hard, his intention easily decipherable. Run!
Bryn did just that, taking off back towards the town. If he could make it within sight of the guards he might be saved.
A magic knight abusing his powers against regular folk was highly taboo, and the man would face severe punishment from both the Adventurer's Guild and the Association of Magic Knights... that is... if Bryn made it back alive to report it.
The man didn't waste any time, immediately chasing in pursuit. However, his pursuit was thrown off when he felt a painful bite on his shin.
Luis had struck! When the blond man ran by, completely ignoring him, Luis didn't let the chance slip. However, the man's skin reminded Luis of the earth wolf, incredibly tough! Grunting in annoyance, the man slashed down with his sword to decapitate the pest.
Sensing death approach, Luis released his bite. He managed to avoid decapitation, but he couldn't completely dodge the blow.
"Gah!" An uncontrollable yelp of pain was released as Luis stumbled away, a deep gash and broken scales on his chest leaking blood profusely. The man paid him no more mind as he ran off in pursuit of the boy.
Fury welled in Luis' chest. As an adult, as a parent, as a grandpa... He would never allow some mugger to hurt a child under his watch. Not my boy... Luis collapsed. A familiar power swelled in his chest...
Bryn was running as fast as he could. He didn't even dare look back. A sound entered his ears, like something flying through the air end over end... Bryn felt his left leg give out as he fell over, sliding along the ground due to his momentum.
"AHHHHHHHGGG" Bryn screamed as he stared at the curved sword of the man that was sticking out of his leg. The knight had thrown it with impeccable aim. Only a magic knight would be able to do something like that... Bryn stared at his wound in horror.
"Did you really think you could escape from me? I'm a magic knight, while you are just a boy. You should've just handed over the money quietly..." The man spoke as if he was genuinely confused.
Bryn was overwhelmed with pain. Scooting away in fear as the man approached, Bryn couldn't help but feel a deep injustice. "Why are you doing this! Aren't you a magic knight! Don't you protect people from magic beasts! Bryn roared out his grievances.
Stopping in front of the Bryn, the man replied without mercy. "Human's are the easiest prey..." The blond man had already been kicked out of the association for abusing his powers, but the man would never admit this to the child.
Bending down, the man reached for his sword in the boy's leg, ready to finish the job.
The man paused as he felt a claw wrap around his left leg. When the man saw what had grabbed him, he was genuinely surprised.
I thought I already killed you... Letting down his guard, the man bent over to inspect where he had sliced the lizard.
With his strength, he believed that there was no way this small magical beast posed any sort of threat.
This arrogance cost him his life...
Earlier, after Luis had collapsed, he had managed in his desperation to summon the same magical power that had already saved his life twice before.
After it healed him, he quickly followed after Bryn and the man who was trying to kill him. When he saw how bad the man had hurt Bryn... hurt his boy... something in him snapped.
Luis felt the same familiar energy building in his chest. However this time, he kept drawing more of it from whatever its source was.
It started to hurt like nothing he had felt before, but he refused to stop. It built and built and the pressure in his throat made it clear that he was ready to release his attack.
Kill that man... a singular thought kept Luis from losing control of the overwhelming power building in his center.
By the time Luis had gripped the blond man's leg, he was on the verge of exploding. When the man bent down like a lamb to slaughter, Luis released the blast.
In the split second before he died, the man's eyes locked with the lizard's golden slit pupils. Beautiful... Only a single stray thought made it through.
Then, a pure and magnifcent beam of white light completely incinerated the man's face, leaving nothing but a smoking skull and cooked brain matter where his head used to be. The formerly blond man collapsed like a sack of potatoes.
It was the most powerful attack he had ever achieved, executed so fast and decisively that the man couldn't even put up any defense to block it.
Afterwards, Luis felt something shatter in his chest, and he fell over unconscious. Bryn, who had witnessed Luis' brilliant display, was once again made speechless. Light affinity... He is a light affinity magical beast.
This news alone could bring upon their family a terrible calamity. No one must ever find out... Bryn decided as he stood up on his good leg. Walking over to Luis, Bryn was highly relieved to discover he was still breathing, but the breaths were shallow and rapid. I have to get help...
Trying his best to ignore the pain, Bryn left straight for home to seek aid, hopping as fast as he could on one leg while blood leaked out of his wound. He prayed he would be able to make it before he passed out from bloodloss.