Arc 1 – Lost
Ch. 12 – Loyalty
We continued to walk forward in that cave. Gavyn strode in front of me and Scarlet, confidently leading the way to the exit. I would be finally able to see my family after God-knew how long…
I was honestly anxious about talking with one of the most powerful Beast Knights, Crimson Dragon. Though, after talking to him, he began to give off the “cool uncle” atmosphere I didn’t see often. I started to open up to him; it didn’t matter if he was putting on a facade to calm me down.
As we kept walking, my stomach inevitably grumbled, and the hunger I’d suppressed finally protested against the recent neglect. In response, Gavyn kindly gave me a part of his own rations, and my stomach finally left me at peace.
He told me that bringing food when venturing into the wilderness was vital to survival. Due to my recent experience as well as my trust for his professional wisdom, I ultimately took that to heart.
Through hours of what seemed to be an endless array of twists and turns, my legs began to feel like noodles. We decided to take a break. Looking around, Gavyn found a good spot with flat boulders. We sat on them and began to rest.
Sighing, I shifted around to get comfortable. My eyes danced around the underground cave, admiring details I hadn’t noticed before. Caressed in the small cracks on the rock walls, phosphorescent moss flourished. Droplets of water collected on the tip of stalactites on the ceiling, threatening to plop on the floor at any moment.
The walls, albeit stained with brown dirt patches, had a slight purple tinge from the amalgam of colors from the moss and gems. The cave floor had an extraordinary diversity of green to blue wild turf that was anchored in a mixture of rocks and dirt.
I still wondered how Gavyn got here – or how I got here, for that matter. But I couldn’t find a satisfying answer. In this case, I should stop thinking too hard about everything… Though, I’m still incredibly curious how everything could’ve happened together.
Was it planned? Was it a coincidence? I don’t know…
I closed my eyes. With the Crimson Dragon here, I felt at peace now. The tension of trying to hide from unknown Beasts was small, although existent.
Small taps reached my ears, disrupting the silence. I perked my head up and took a look around, finally landing my gaze on one of the corners of the room.
“They’re back, huh?” Gavyn half-smiled.
The wolves had followed us here, though I had little idea as to why. His parents kept observing us from nearby.
The cub walked until he was right in front of me. His steps were certain, in contrast to his past, meek behavior. I kept wondering about what could’ve changed him.
Troubled, I shot a glance at a chuckling Gavyn… Seeing that I could get no hints from him, I crouched and faced the little cub.
He finally reached me and licked my face repeatedly. Without much hesitation, I touched his head, switching between twirling and caressing his ever-so-fluffy fur.
Gavyn approached me after the cub took a step back, leaving my face completely covered in a thick, slimy saliva.
“He found it,” Gavyn said out of the blue.
“Found what?” I didn’t understand.
“I don’t… get it.”
“You see, lava hounds have one specific behavior that not many Beasts have.”
“Hm?” I turned my head while looking straight at him.
“Basically, some lava hounds leave their parents once they find a suitable partner to have a Link with, though there are not many cases of this happening.”
“A Link, huh…”
I’m crestless, meaning that I have no physical capabilities of linking with a Beast, therefore I cannot use magic under any circumstances.
Actually, it’s not that being crestless is all that uncommon, it’s just looked down upon. I’m weaker than most people that have it, resulting in detestable looks from others.
I kept ruffling the cub’s fur, taking my attention away from those cold, irrefutable facts.
“Also, they are really persistent, so… you can’t really refuse it.”
“Huh?” I abruptly stopped messing with the cub.
It’s not that I’m against it… It’s just that I can’t link with him, so I can’t really see myself as the ‘chosen one’ …if that’s the right way to put it.
“Hm… You’re hesitating a lot there. Most people would’ve taken him in the bat of an eye. You see, Lava Hounds are quite powerful. So, why is that?” Gavyn grew curious.
“Um… I mean…” I took a deep breath. “I’m crestless.”
Even though everyone knew about it back home, it still rubbed me the wrong way to say it to my lifelong idol.
“Oh yeah! Gavyn, I’ve been curious lately, but why did you come down here?”
I decided not to stay on this subject. I’ve already accepted the fact that I can’t do anything since long ago. I can’t cry over spilled milk anymore, it’s stupid.
But even with that, I couldn’t bring myself to end my dreams, nor could I keep deluding myself with them. They had their place at the back of my head, along with a couple of dear memories – that’s where they should stay.
“I was chasing that Leo King since he caused quite a havoc in the forest.”
“Though, wasn’t he somewhat unusual? A lot of purple lines were encloaking him. I’ve never seen that before, and it looked so bizarre…”
“I wonder about that…” He threw his words in the air.
After that, we were ready to leave. The cub parted ways with his parents, though I couldn’t help but think that he made the wrong decision by choosing me, but did I really have any say in the matter? According to the Beast Knight, I didn’t.
Our way back home was calm. Now and then, Beasts would appear, but Scarlet swiftly took care of them all in quick and small precise blasts of fire.
I held the small watermelon-sized cub in my arms the whole time. He playfully bit me constantly, and I countered him by tapping gently on his nose. He was startled and began to “attack” me more fiercely. Truly a sight to behold…
Upon hours of walking, bright streaks of light hit my eyes. After all of the situations I’d just gone through, I was finally able to step on the fluffy, welcoming dirt.
Overcome by emotion, I threw myself on the ground and began to make “dirt angels”. The little cub followed suit, clumsily playing along.
“I love the earth~”
“You sure do, worm-boy.” Gavyn chuckled heartily at the scene unfolding right before him.
After a couple of minutes, I grew tired of playing with dirt, although the little cub seemed to have the energy and interest to spare.
Standing up, I slapped the dry soil off of me.
I looked over to Gavyn, who kept tenderly caressing Scarlet. Even though he was so occupied as the Crimson Dragon, this peaceful bonding was soothing. He probably wanted a break from the possible—no, the certain amount of stress he had to pull off daily.
I wonder when I began to feel so at ease when talking to him. He’s someone approachable and likable despite his job, so that’s to be expected, I guess.
“Let’s go?” I called out to him after taking a good look at that heartwarming scene of Knight-Beast bonding.
“Yeah. I was about to call you.”
“Don’t lie, you wanted to slack off there, huh?” I smiled smugly.
“Well, at least I didn’t hug the earth passionately like you.”
I stuck my tongue out at him. Touché, Gavyn… Touché.
Sorry for the lack of updates, my schedule has been getting tighter (and will continue to during a week or so)… 😛
Thank you, Xaga, for your amazing editing!
>Updates every Friday <