Arc 1 – Lost
Ch. 11 – Clogged throat
He had finished the Beast with quick and sharp movements. There was nothing left of it—
only lumps of coal bestrewn on the floor.
My hands clenched small rocks on the ground while I gulped. I had never seen anything as amazing as this up close. I had only heard of the tales of his exploits beforehand.
He swung his sword once more. The blood that stained the blade splattered to the ground, leaving only shimmering steel. With a quick spin of his wrist, he sheathed his sword, resounding with an audible clank throughout the cave.
He stepped closer to the dragon and caressed its scarlet scales. The Beast huffed a small puff of smoke in delight and nuzzled the knight’s hand.
“You’ve done well.”
After that warm moment, the knight locked his eyes to mine. Withdrawing his hand from the dragon, he walked up to me.
“Can you stand up?”
I stood up and slapped my clothes, brushing the dust off of them.
“Ouch, ouch, ouch…”
My body stung. Although the pain was tolerable, the blast’s impact still lingered through my body. That explosion was probably the most effective way of separating me and that Beast, so this was inevitable.
“Sorry about that.”
I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that the Crimson Dragon is right in front of me. Not that it’s any crazier than falling into a hole and somehow still surviving three attacks from dangerous Beasts… In any case, I shook those remarks away.
Without taking his attention off of me, the knight began to rub his thumb on the pommel of his sword, tracing the carvings. It was probably a habit, so I paid no mind.
“Well, what are you doing in this place? Certainly, you’re not here for a stroll.” His finger began tapping on the pommel.
I took a deep breath and reorganized my thoughts. I didn’t want to waste time with unnecessary details.
“I got attacked by that… heap of coal, then I fell in a hole and eventually got here.”
“I don’t really… r-remember. I only feel like my back’s been stinging up until now, though it wasn’t bothering me as much, so I just ignored it.” I fiddled with my fingers.
“I’ll take you to a doctor. You need to get checked up…”
He caressed a scar on his chin.
“… Sometimes, the smallest things are the most dangerous, so be aware.”
“I-I’ll take note of that!”
“Loosen up, I’m not going to eat you… She would, probably.”
The dragon bumped her nose on the knight, just like how my younger sister did when I teased her.
“It’s a joke. She’s the nicest dragon I’ve met.”
The dragon gave a friendly growl to me. Shakily, I smiled and waved.
It was really heartwarming. I could’ve never guessed that the Crimson Dragon would be so approachable.
“Um… I-I thought the Crimson Dragon would be, y-you know… stern?”
I instantly shut my mouth with my hands and fidgeted. I honestly need to control my curiosity more.
“Sorry, my mouth just ran off on its own–“
“Don’t mind it. With this appearance, it’d be difficult not to think like that.” He patted his breastplate.
I was about to respond, but small steps echoed through the room in barely audible thuds. The knight instantly turned to the sound’s origin.
“Lava Hounds, huh?”
Three familiar figures emerged from one of the room’s entrances. The cub and his parents calmly strolled in my direction.
The knight probably felt no hostility coming from them, so he didn’t move. Though I could see him gripping the handle of his sword.
“They’re fine, don’t worry.”
“Hm…” He loosened his grip.
“They constantly saved me…” I could finally stutter less, though I still fiddled with my fingers occasionally.
“Mind telling me your story later? Seems interesting so far.” He smiled.
“S-Sure!” My voice raised a bit. “Ahem…“
I got a little bit excited. Just a little bit.
The cub reached me and began to nuzzle his head in between my legs. His parents gazed at us calmly from a distance.
“I guess he really likes you, eh?” The knight laughed heartily.
“Lava Hounds have tough shells, but their inside is really sweet. Once you earn their trust, they’ll completely open up to you.” He stepped closer.
The cub hid from the knight, snuggling behind one of my legs.
“Oops, I guess he doesn’t trust me yet.”
I smiled at the soft-hearted knight and crouched to play with the cub. My hands gently twirled through his dark-red, fluffy fur.
The atmosphere was surprisingly warm inside that desolate place. The Crimson Dragon really is something else… That reminds me, I haven’t introduced myself yet.
“N-nice to meet you, my name is Kyel.” I continued to nervously fiddle with the cub’s fur.
“Same here, my name is Gavyn.” He smiled.
“Was that a library?” The knight took one last glance at the crumbling building.
“Yeah, but it was barely standing.”
“Well, it’s nothing more than scrambles after that Leo King attacked… Nothing I can do about it~”
After that unexpectedly sweet moment with the wolves, I followed Gavyn out of the room, parting ways with what was left of the library. The only thing I kept with me from the place was that small velvet book in my pocket.
Scarlet, his dragon, followed right behind us. Even if they were on an entirely different level, being cautious was essential. They still had to guard me after all.
I parted ways with the wolves so that I could return home with a lighter mind. I wouldn’t take the cub back home with me… I’m Crestless anyway, so why would I?
I honestly liked being with the little cub, but would I take him away from his parents in order to live with me, someone that can’t even Link with a Beast? That would just be cruel.
Furthermore, if someone tried to separate me and my parents, I wouldn’t like it. In fact, I would be furious, so how would it be different for him?
I sighed and stole a glance at the knight.
He strolled along the rocky floor, occasionally gazing at the gems above. His armor softly glimmered with the pastel colors of the walls; his red hair swayed along with his walking, just like it was pure fire.
He was a Beast Knight. Someone that attained the dream I’ve always longed for. He was the exact image of what I’d idealized about my future self, although I could never reach it.
My thoughts were clouded by never-ending questions, things I longed to say but couldn’t. Not even to my own family.
But within those questions, one surfaced. Ever since I’ve found out about my Crestless nature, that one question kept biting my conscience over and over again. The same big question that held the hopes and dreams of kids across Ephastos.
A short, simple question that could change fate. But I already knew the answer to that question.
All the same, I wanted to ask him, who had conquered all and lived the dream that I wished to attain. Surely, he would know what to say to someone like me. He could help me move on.
Yet why couldn’t I ask him?
Why was my throat clogging up?
My body refused to respond. Did I resist the acceptance of my own fate, even if it was decided by birth my inability to take the first step?
The door to a new resolution was right in front of me. My chance to move on.
His words were more valuable than a doctor’s, or even my own family’s words. He was living the life I’ve always been dreaming of.
He would give me the same answer that I already knew—and his answer wouldn’t be an opinion, it would be a fact. A simple word, or sentence, could convince me to move on. A simple no.
Can I become a Beast Knight?
The words stuck to my throat and refused to move.
Thank you Xaga for your amazing editing!
Thank you for reading!
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