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Following behind Adam, Alfred said: “It might be best to just take the pup to the Silver Saviors. Madame’s doesn’t allow pets.”
Adam’s steps faltered. He nodded: “Okay.”
The Silver Saviors were closer anyway, so it would still work out. Adjusting his course, Adam headed toward the Silver Saviors. Hansen decided to follow Adam while the rest were too tired to do anything other than go home.
As they entered the Silver Saviors’ compound, many gave Adam and Hansen a curious look. A few recalled Adam and Hansen, but most had yet to meet them. Ignoring them all, Adam made for the dog kennels near the stables. Adam walked up behind a woman that was tending to a dog nearby: “Isley said you might be able to help me with this pup.”
The woman was startled by Adam’s sudden appearance behind her; “What!? Isley sent you? Ah, you must be one of the potentials that went hunting. I hadn’t heard the hunting party had come back. Is this a wolf pup you picked up in the forest? You know it’s not good to take wild animals from their homes.”
The woman cast a worried glance at the lifeless pup in Adam’s arms. “Well, let’s see what we can do.”
The woman took the pup and tried enticing it to eat chicken bits, toys, or ,at least, drink some milk. But, the pup just laid there as though it were dead. She didn’t try to force feed it since she felt it would only make things worse. After a good half-hour of trying, she could only give up; “Physically, the pup is fine. He just… doesn’t want to do anything. He became too stressed when you brought him from his home. This place is hardly relaxing, either.”
The Silver Savior compound was full of activity; people trained and shouted at one another over the din. The woman continued; “I suggest you take him home and… hope that he gets into an eating mood.”
Before he left, the woman gave Adam a flask of milk: “Just in case he changes his mind about eating before you get home.”
Thanking her, Adam left with a heavy heart. Hansen quietly followed, unable to add anything useful. Adam spoke: “I think I’m going to head to the Hill Garden first. I think that place is more relaxing than Madame’s…”
Hansen nodded: “I’ll tell your mother where you’re at.”
Adam had forgotten about his mom. She was probably waiting at home, anxious for him to return. Still, the pup came first. To his surprise, Adam found Helen already at their secluded spot.
“Adam, you’re back! Ugh, you stink!”
Adam shrugged: “I just got back, so I haven’t bathed yet.”
“Is that a puppy!?”
Adam nodded and told her what had happened. She became wide-eyed when he mentioned the Ghul. She looked at the almost-lifeless puppy with moist eyes. “Can I hold him?”
Adam nodded as he carefully passed her the pup. He also passed her the milk flask that the woman from earlier had given him. “If he seems like he’ll eat, have him drink that.”
Helen nodded as she gently petted the poor pup. With a weary sigh, Adam heaved his pack to the ground and sat down. As he laid himself out, a nap called to him. Helen was watching the pup, and there wasn’t much else he could do to help. Something felt a little out of place though; ‘Ah! No music.’
Adam almost always played a song while he was in this secluded spot, so it felt weird not to. Adam pulled his flute from his pack. He hadn’t been able to really play at all the past couple days since he was so tired.
As he played his flute, he was glad he spent the effort to. Everything felt more peaceful with a song hanging in the air. Adam didn’t notice it, but even the pup stirred with the song! It languidly wagged its tail to the song. Seeing the pup becoming lively, Helen quickly pulled the top off the flask. She didn’t have anything to pour the milk into, so she dipped her finger in the flask and then brought it to the pup’s mouth. At first, the pup did nothing. But then, it timidly licked her finger. Finger by finger, Helen fed the pup as much as he would take.
When Helen turned to tell Adam the exciting news, she found him gently snoring. He had lulled himself asleep with his own music. Looking at his sleeping form, she couldn’t help but smile.
Adam yawned groggily. His nap hadn’t been long enough, but the day was getting late, and it was time for them to head back to Madame’s. Adam looked at the sleeping pup in Helen’s arms. Its aura was no longer as dim as it had been earlier. It seemed they might pull the pup away from the brink of death.
“Earlier, Alfred said Madame’s doesn’t allow us to keep pets. Is that true?”
Helen nodded sadly while staring at the pup: “Such a shame. I wanted to keep the little guy as well.”
Adam gently sighed. This was becoming more troublesome by the minute. But, he did not regret saving the pup. He only wished that taking care of it was easier than it was proving so far.
Before long, they found themselves back at Madame’s. Adam gently took the pup from Helen’s arms; “I’m going to find Mom and talk to her about this. She might have an idea.”
Helen gave the pup a couple pets before reluctantly letting go: “Okay, tell me how it goes.”
Using his Spirit Sight, Adam quickly searched for his mother. He found that she was actually talking with Madame Janette in her office. He apprehensively approached the office and knocked on the door: “Mom, it’s me.”
Vivienne quickly opened the door. “Adam, what took you so long to return!?”
“I fell asleep while trying to help this little guy.”
Vivienne hugged Adam, while being careful to not squish the pup; “Hansen told us what happened. Are you okay?”
Adam nodded: “I’d heard we can’t keep pets here, but this little guy needs a lot of help if he’s to survive. My music seemed to help him a bit, so…”
Adam wasn’t sure what he meant. Janette looked at the sleeping pup and groaned: “I can’t play favorites, but I also can’t abide just throwing the pup into the streets. You can care for him, but you must look for a place outside of Madame’s where he can stay! Perhaps even someplace that can care for him instead of you. He can only stay until he is healthy, and then he is out of here!”
Adam flashed a grin. “Thanks, Madame Janette!”
“Yeah, yeah, just make sure he doesn’t pee on anything expensive, or you’re paying for it!”
Taking her words seriously, Adam vigorously nodded his head. Vivienne could only shake her head at her friend’s poor joke.
The next day, news of the Ghul Bear had spread in the city. Word was that the Silver Saviors encountered it while on a hunting expedition. Using their boar spears, the Silver Saviors gouged out the Ghul’s eyes before making a run for it. Unfortunately, they had lost a member during the fight.
Adam spoke with the others over lunch: “Who… who do you think it was that died?”
None of them could truly imagine that one of the people they had camped with the day before had died while they had fled. It came as a shock and a message that death often came without warning. However, it only reaffirmed their desire to learn how to wield the sword. They didn’t want to be easy prey for anything that might come their way.
Deciding to distract themselves from that topic, they turned to the pup Adam had placed on the table.
“I can’t believe you were allowed to keep the little guy.”
“Only until he’s better, or I can find someone to take care of him.” Adam responded.
“Still… Have you named him yet?”
Adam shook his head. Helen quickly piped up: “Let’s name him Buttons!”
Everyone around the table gave Helen an incredulous look. Helen wilted at their gaze and blushed crimson. “What? You don’t like it?”
The boys shook their heads; “He’s a boy and a wolf at that! His name has to be strong and empowering! Like… Frankfurt!”
“I vote for Leviathan!”
Kadara pounded the table as she said: “War Mongrel!”
Everybody stared at her, much as they had done with Helen. However, Kadara didn’t shrink from their gaze as she shrugged and said: “I thought we were just saying the craziest names we could think of.”
Laughter permeated the table. Adam petted the as-of yet-to-be-named pup beside him. The pup wasn’t faring much better than he had the day before. Although he weakly ate now, he didn’t react to anything besides food. Even when Kadara pounded the table, and they all laughed, he didn’t react. His aura remained dormant.
Adam thought: ‘What would be a good name for you? What’s a good name for a wolf?’
Wolves hunted and roamed in packs. They typically had a white and grey coloration. They also liked howling. These were pretty much everything Adam knew about wolves. Adam passed a few names through his mind before one popped out, the old-tongue word for silver. Adam spoke it aloud to the pup; “Silber.”
The two words differed only slightly, but Silber rolled off the tongue. As he said it, Adam noticed the pup’s aura stir. It’s eyes even turned to him! Adam gently smiled as he continued petting the pup; “His name is Silber.”
There was a flute lesson planned for Adam later in the day. Adam didn’t have any choice but to bring Silber with him as everyone else had a shift. When Adam walked into the room with Silber in his arms, Julianne swooned over the poor pup; “Would you look at the little cutie! Such a shame what happened to his family. I’m glad Janette let you keep him for a while.”
Adam nodded: “Still, I can’t keep him forever. Once he gets better, I have to find a place for him.”
Julienne continued to pet Silber while contemplating. She then said: “Maybe he can stay with me.”
Julienne nodded: “Me and my husband live in a house not too far from here. It’s almost perfect!”
“Would you really do that!?”
Julienne nodded: “I’ll have to talk to Todd, first. I’m sure he’ll be fine with it though. But… I don’t know whether Janette will let me take him back here for small visits. You might not be able to see him too much.”
After Julianne finished cooing over Silber, they placed him in a comfortable spot before launching straight into the lesson. As they played, Silber’s tail slowly wagged. Silber cast his eyes upon Adam, the strange creature that had plucked him from his home and spirited him away from the terrifying Ghul. Perhaps… he could trust this strange creature to keep him safe. He liked the music and the petting. Maybe things would be alright…
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.