Finn's opportunity had arrived!
After his initial introduction, Finn finally learned some of the names of the people that had been around him. Anya, Selmor, and a few others, including the one he was speaking too.
Maorn. The man had a scholarly air about him, further enhanced by the fact he was wearing glasses. Where did he get glasses? Who makes glasses in this world?
This little feature perked Finn's curiosity. He immediately wanted nothing more than to start pelting the man with questions, but he had felt that their current location was not the best, surrounded by a crowd of loud onlookers.
Not forgetting his manners, Finn had respectfully requested to continue the discussion elsewhere. Now, Finn was resting in the sun in a small clearing just outside the village while Maorn was sitting in the shade under a tree, eagerly waiting for Finn to write in the dirt.
This is amazing! Maorn stood by, his notebook ready. Never had he met a sentient magical beast before. Legends he had heard mentioned such types of beasts existing in the lands to west of the woodland border, but he had never personally confirmed any of these.
Maorn frowned. It had not been for lack of trying, but the further he went west, the stronger magical beasts became. Going any further than the main village was suicide for someone of his level of strength, which was to say... none.
Hearing a snort, Maorn was brought out of his thoughts and looked over at what the drake, Finn, drew into the dirt. Copying the characters onto his notebook, he read the question aloud.
"What is this place?" Maorn thought about how to answer this question. Translating into his native language, Maorn passed the question along. "Milady, how should I answer this?"
Anya, absolutely refusing to be absent from the conversation, had tagged along. There was no way she would pass up this chance to learn more about this unique creature. She also had questions of her own.
Currently, she was sitting under another tree, rubbing the face of a cute baby seraphim fox. Cooing softly to the adorable creature that hung around the light drake, she gave a measured response.
"There's no need to overthink it! Just explain who we are. Also, ask him if he was sent by the godesses."
Speaking slowly as to not mess up his pronunciation, Maorn explained after clearning his throat
"We are in a section of the woodland border known as the Kurugo Woods. Our village is a branch of the Tyrin tribe, the easternmost branch, which is where you are now. Milady Anya wanted me to ask if you were sent here by the godesses?
Kurugo Woods, huh? What does she mean by goddesses? Literal gods? Maorn's response only left Finn with more questions.
Erasing his previous question, Finn wrote down another. Upon reading and recording Finn's scratches in his notebook, Maorn nudged his glasses and repeated it for Anya to hear.
"He is asking who the godesses are. It seems he was not sent by them after all. How interesting..."
This answer completely stunned Anya, her previous conclusions shattered by Finn's answer.
"But if he wasn't sent by the godesses, then why did he come here? Why did he save me?"
"I do not know Lady Anya, but I shall ask him!" Maorn replied to her questions with a smile. Turning back to the large drake that was staring down at him, Maorn felt surprised at himself that he no longer felt fear towards it... him.
"Finn, Lady Anya wants to know why you came here."
While considering how to respond, Finn felt something bite his tail. Lifting it so that it hung in front of his face, he found Shrimp dangling off it.
Carefully pulling him off like one would remove a tick, he set him down in front of his parents. His mother pounced on him, and proceeded to start aggressively grooming her child, who protested very vocally.
Serves you right brat... Never did these small fox-like creatures fail to amuse him.
Having thought a bit, Finn finally wrote something.
"It's a long story, but I come from a land to the east, where other humans live."
This answer shocked Maorn and Anya after she heard it translated. The light drake came from the traitor's lands?
"Where specifically?" Maorn couldn't help but ask. Knowing more about the eastern lands than anyone in his village, he felt it was a necessary question.
Finn wrote his answer down. Maorn read it aloud. "Brexin, one of the thirteen Border States."
Maorn frowned in thought. It made the most sense geographically considering it was the closest Border State to their village, but it was still quite far. How has this beast survived living there?
If Maorn recalled correctly, Anya had explained how this drake had saved her life and the lives of others with his light affinity.
Having traveled through those lands in secret, he knew that beasts with a light affinity were zealously hunted down for their potent healing stones and cores.
When he asked about this, Finn explained that he had been taken in by a family when he was still very young. Although very uncommon, it wasn't unheard of to have weak magical beast as a... pet.
Finn still didn't like that term. He never viewed himself as one, even if others saw it that way. He had just been looking after Bryn and his little sister, whom he had taken a liking too after reminding him of his own grandkids.
He didn't bother explaining this though, and just detailed how he had lived with this family while keeping his affinity a secret. An accident happened, and he got lost in these woods.
After translating everything Finn had said so far, Maorn found his story quite odd. If everything this drake said is true, than it hasn't even been a year since it was born, yet displays such intelligence.
Anya, on the other hand, found it incredulous that it was pure coincidence that she had met him. Even if everything that was said was true, why did he save me?
Anya relayed this question to Maorn who translated it to Finn, who was puzzled by it. Scratching something into the ground, Maorn read it aloud.
"Why wouldn't I save you?"
A magical beast with a very human sense of justice. How poetic... Maorn found Finn's answer very amusing. Anya, on the other hand, was just rendered speechless.
Even worse was the way Maorn translated it, as if were mocking her for asking such a foolish question.
Finn was very clearly a magical beast. Since when does a magical beast go out of its way and put itself in danger for a human? It all made sense when she believed it was because of the godesses, but now Anya felt she understood this drake less and less.
However, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Listening to a sentient magical beast that lived among and was kind to people was something of a novelty, if not a one of a kind experience.
Finn finally got to the point and scratched out the request he had been longing to ask. Maorn translated.
"Can you help me get home?"
Maorn was taken aback by this request, as was Anya. After thinking for a moment, Maorn took the silence as an opportunity to ask what had been on his mind.
"As a magical beast, why do you bother with humans? Aren't you afraid of being hunted for your core? Surely you understand the danger?
Finn tilted his head questioningly and wrote quite a bit in the dirt. Maorn read it aloud.
"When I was born, I was badly injured. In my confusion, I stumbled across a man and his child, accepting they might kill me. Instead, the boy took me in and cared for me. They became my family, and I will return to them."
Besides, having no one to talk to is incredibly boring. Who would choose to just live in the woods by themselves? Finn didn't write this, but it was another reason he wanted to go home.
Your family huh? Anya felt strangely moved by the drake's words. Without warning, she found herself greatly missing her own father and brother, who had been gone for quite some time.
Along that same line of thought, Anya suddenly thought of a wonderful idea. Asking Maorn to translate for her, she addressed Finn directly.
"Finn, if I may, I would like to propose a request."
"Oh, and what would that be?" Finn replied in writing, intrigued by her sudden change in demeanor.
"As you know, my father is the Chief of this village, and he left on a special mission to help my brother advance to become an elemental warrior like himself."
Elemental warrior? Finn had never heard a term like that before.
Anya continued. "My father does not have the strength alone to defeat the fire drake that drove us out of our home, which is why he left to help my brother advance. When they return, they will face the drake in an attempt to regain our land."
Hmm, so that village was once their home? The carnage he saw there a while ago now made more sense.
Anya took a breath and reached her point.
"Can you please help us defeat it? If you do, I can promise that we will lead you home."
Finn was stunned by this request, suddenly remembering the feeling of absolute oppression the fire drake gave him. It was on a whole other level of power, the kind only a qualitative change brings.
Finn believed that this so called fire drake must be at least rank four. Only the guild master had given him such a feeling of absolute hopelessness. What could he possibly do against such a demon?
Seeing the clear hesitation to answer, Anya added more. "It would only be to aid my father and brother as support. You have unique powers and abilities that I believe could help them. You are also quite powerful yourself."
Finn's eyes narrowed. He suddenly felt that he was being taken advantage of. After saving her life and helping her people, she instead gives me a conditional offer to help me get home only if I help her father and brother fight that monster?
Before Finn could give her a piece of his mind, he faltered as she suddenly knelt before him.
"Please! I know this is a selfish request. I know you have already given us more aid than we can ever repay, but for the sake of my people, I have to do everything in my power to ensure we can reclaim our home. Please... help us!
Maorn translated everything, shocked that Anya would kneel before anyone, let alone a magical beast.
Finn looked down at the girl for a long time, the clearing becoming unusually silent. However, before too much time passed, he let out a long breath.
Indeed, it was incredibly selfish to ask for more, but when he thought of the sufferings of those he had healed, as well as the carnage he saw back on the mountain, he could sympathize with her plight.
For a brief moment, Finn entertained the idea of simply grabbing Maorn and running, kidnapping him and using him as a guide to get home. He could speak Finn's language, and according to him he had been to the Border States before, so he could likely get him there.
But then Finn realized that he was indeed himself, and not some kidnapping criminal.
Although Finn still felt aggrieved at the way things were turning out, he decided it wouldn't be that terrible to help this girl. If what she said was true, that he wouldn't have to fight that thing directly. In addition, he would get to see those of a higher level of power fight, which was bound to be interesting.
After several minutes of silence, Finn finally wrote his response in the dirt.
"I will help!"
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