19 Honor Thy Father
"Absolutely not!" George yelled as he stood in front of the door, blocking his son from leaving. It was just after breakfast, and Bryn had been hoping to sneak out.
He might've been successful too, had he not elected to change into the gear he brought back from the blacksmith inside the house.
It made him too obvious. He wore a hardened leather vest with vambraces inlaid with thin metal plates. They could likely block a strike or two from a small sword.
Covering his legs were interwoven pads of sown leather that allowed for free range of motion.
The hardened leather pads on his chest and legs looked tough enough to stop any indirect grazes from a bladed weapon, but not a direct hit from a well placed strike or arrow shot.
Last but not least, he had the same large backpack that he brought back from the city, now filled with supplies.
Still, Finn had to admit the gear did make him appear a tad more formidable. The blacksmith really did a nice job. The formidable look, however, was not to be confused with true strength.
Of course, there was no way his parents wouldn't notice that their son looked like he was dressed for battle. Finn was grateful for once that Bryn acted impulsively.
Bryn had absolutely zero training in combat, yet he was acting like he expected hunting magical beasts to be a cakewalk.
A sudden boost in power does not make him a fighter... Finn understood that Bryn was feeling a false sense of confidence from his recent advancement and new gear.
Maybe if the guild master trained him for a couple years, but for now...
He is going to get himself hurt. Hopefully, his father would put a stop to this...
"But dad, look," Bryn said as he manifested a blue energy on his arm. It was the same energy he use to cut Finn. Furthermore, it was the source of his newfound confidence.
George's eyes opened in shock at this reveal. "You've stepped onto the path of the magiks? How? When?" His reaction to his son's new power was like getting slapped in the face.
Bryn looked lost, confused by what his father said. His newfound pride sizzled out, and he explained. "Father, the guild master made me his student. Using a special stone, he found that I held a wind affinity like him. He directly helped me advance..."
Finn noticed a vein bulge on George's forehead. "You accepted him as your teacher! Without asking me? Idiot son!" George roared and paced around as he gripped his skull in anger.
Bryn was completely lost at this point, he wasn't expecting this reaction from his father at all.
Seeing his son's confused face, George's furious eyes softened a bit. He sighed heavily.
"Boy, you don't realize what you have agreed too. Have you never wondered why I settled for the life of a common farmer?"
George shook his head when Bryn gave him a befuddled look.
"Becoming a full-fledged magic knight is not easy. Unlike mages, who's special sense for the elements allow them to draw in energy on their own, a magic knight requires energy from outside sources..." George looked down at his boy.
"Did he give you a blueish crystal and help you direct its energy into your body? Was this how you advanced?" He asked his son directly, looking him square in the eyes.
Bryn felt a chill down his spine. This was exactly what the guild master did. "Yes," was all Bryn could say.
George held back a groan, feeling a need to rub his temples. The deed was done, the proof displayed by his son earlier.
"Son, I was once offered the same choice you have taken, that which you did without consulting me nontheless. Ultimately, I refused because of the responsibility you yourself will now have to bear..."
Bryn looked puzzled, as did Finn.
This must be related to certain customs I am unaware off... Now that he thought about it, Finn thought that Bryn suddenly gaining this power for free seemed too simple. It turns out there is a catch.
Bryn did not like the look of pity his father was giving him. It made him feel like he was missing something, and if he was being honest with himself, he probably was.
George put a hand on his son's shoulder, gripping it tight. "Son, the resources required to become a magic knight are expensive, and the cost only grows exponentially as you increase in power. That crystal you recieved was likely the core of a rank two wind beast of some kind!"
"Just to advance to rank one, he has already spent a fortune in gold to help you. If he has taken you as his student, then he has an obligation to teach you and provide the resources you need to grow into a proper magic knight."
"On the same token, your life now belongs to him for the foreseeable future..." George let that statement hang for effect.
"This is part of the code of the magiks. The reciprocity of the teacher and student. It's also the same reason why I chose against becoming a student."
Bryn, slightly rattled, asked, "Why would you choose against becoming a student to a magic knight? It's not like its forever, right? You even get to become powerful!" He couldn't understand why his father would choose a mundane life over power and glory.
George shook his head. " I couldn't make that kind of commitment. I already had a prior commitment I needed to address."
Bryn asked the million dollar question.
"What commitment could possibly more important than the possibility of becoming a magic knight?"
George put his hand on his son's head and smiled fondly. He gave the million dollar answer.
"You... You were on the way. I couldn't just abandon you and your mother, even to become a magic knight."
Finn, who was listening to the exchange, was moved by this revelation. He gave up a life of adventure and power to raise his family.
What an excellent father... Finn greatly respected the man for his choice.
Bryn felt like an arrow went through his gut. His father lost his chance to become great, because of himself? He couldn't help but ask.
"Did... do you regret it?"
Pausing for a moment, George bent down and hugged his son tightly.
"Never! However, now that you are committed, we have to talk more about this. I believe I need to meet this guild master. We all need to have a chat."
Bryn gave a thoughtful look. "Father, you mentioned magiks. What is that?"
George felt a sense of nostalgia, remembering old times. "Magiks is slang for magic knights. Its what they call themselves, at least here in the Border States. I'm not sure about other kingdoms."
Woah! He knows a lot more than I thought about magic knights! Bryn suddenly felt like he knew less about his father's past than he previously believed.
George stood up. "And now if you'll excuse me, I need to talk with your mother about all this..."
George started to walk back into the house. "Oh, and you're still not allowed to go hunting."
Yes! Finn thought happily. Better to wait until he at least has some combat training.
No! Bryn sulked internally. He couldn't wait to make up for the debt. Deep down, he still slightly blamed himself, even though everyone said otherwise.
"What about the debt then!" Bryn exclaimed.
George's confident walk morphed into a sad scene. His back sagged, and he looked like he aged ten years in a moment. The posture of a defeated man. "I... We will figure something out." He said no more on the subject as he sat down at the table, becoming lost in thought.
Bryn and Finn did not miss the change in his mood at the mention of the debt. Finn felt pity for the man. He was no stranger to hard times himself, and he probably cast the same sorry figure back in those days.
Bryn looked upon his despondent father and felt a flame burn in his heart.
Father sacrificed everything for me, it's time to return the favor, even if he doesn't want me too...
Bryn deliberately walked back into the house, and began walking to his room. Thinking that the boy was finally seeing sense, Finn followed happily. When he got up to the room, however, his happiness turned into shock.
The boy was climbing out the window!
"Finn, go outside and meet me by the shed!" Bryn whispered as he hopped out before Finn could react.
Feeling insulted on the father's behalf, Finn bolted out of the house to confront Bryn, who he found dusting his pants off from the fall, next to the shed.
Before Bryn could say anything, Finn immediately started to scribble in the dirt.
'What are you doing?'
"I'm going going hunting..." Bryn shrugged nonchalantly. Resisting the urge to growl, Finn wrote more.
'Honor your father's wishes.'
"I will honor him by helping him!" Bryn started getting defensive. Finn wrote some more.
'You wont be honoring him by getting yourself hurt or killed.'
Bryn shook his head. "I wont get hurt. After all, I have you by my side. Together, we can face any beast under rank three. I'm not suicidal, we are just going to hunt enough to pay back the debt with their stones or cores."
Finn was momentarily at a loss of what to write. Although he enjoyed the faith the boy had in him, it wasn't like he had much combat experience either, especially with a new body. Every fight he ever had since coming here, he had just barely come out on top, mostly out of sheer desperation or luck.
Finn felt a hand placed on his head. He met Bryn's eyes, and he could see the resolve in his firm look. "Look Finn, I know you care for my safety, but I can't keep living knowing I could be doing something to help and simply... not. I owe my family too much..."
It was hard to stay mad at the boy when he mentioned his noble intentions. In his shoes, Finn would have probably felt the same way.
Even still, Finn felt woefully underprepared to start fighting random beasts with magical abilities, even if he had a few of his own.
"Please Finn, I need your help..." Bryn pleaded with the sorriest look he could make.
Finn snorted out a sigh, and after much internal debate, wrote a line on the ground.
'Fine, but safety is priority. I will not risk your life for this'
Bryn cheered and hugged the large lizard, who rolled his eyes. Finn was still quite nervous about his decision. Protecting the boy would be top priority, but mistakes could always be made even in the best situations.
"I got something special just for you!" Bryn declared in glee as he suddenly reached into his oversized backpack and pulled out a leather object.
Finn narrowed his eyes.