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“Stop, Woof.”

A calm voice emanated from the bed, which had been completely still until now.

The Tera which had been about to puncture his skin like it was butter froze, while its breath floated into Edmond’s nostrils.

Beside the cold feeling of those sharp fangs which were touching his neck, this was what made him understand just how close to death he was.

The Tera’s breath weirdly smelled of bread, which was so out of place that Edmond almost felt like chuckling despite his nervousness.

That was mainly because he knew that it was all over. He had seen the look in the eyes of the Tera right before it lunged. In fact, it was seared into his brain.
Those were the eyes of a hunter, which wouldn’t think twice before gobbling him up.

It seemed that…just like everything else in his life so far, he had failed in this too.

And this would be his last failure.

“What are you waiting? Just end it! I wanted to make your Tera a slave! Doesn’t that make you angry!”

Woof didn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘slave’, but from the fury that erupted in Aaron’s eyes the moment he heard it, it could tell that it was something very bad.

Infuriated, it moved even closer with its maw wide open, tasting the blood of this weak human.
It had never tasted human blood or flesh before, as, of course, Aaron had been the only human it knew. Yet, it could already tell that it wouldn’t like the taste very much.

However, this weak thing had been about to cause harm to it. So, it would have no hesitation whatsoever before chomping down.

The only thing it was waiting for was Aaron’s signal, but even though he had gotten angry on hearing that word, he told Woof, “Back off for now, Woof. He can’t run away…I was watching him when he came in. And his speed is appalling.”

He said this out loud, but it was slight gestures he made with his hands that Woof understand.

Woof had always been Aaron’s only companion, so, even though it didn’t understand the language he had in his mind, he still talked to it as if it did. And in fact, over time, Woof had come to understand most things through the sounds he made even if he didn’t use the set of signals that they had made together.

With a hissing sound, Edmond had taken in a sharp breath of air when he felt those fangs dig into his skin, causing two rivulets of blood to flow down his neck.

After that, he had closed his eyes, waiting for the God of Death to take him.

So, when he heard Aaron speak, he felt relief, first, before getting angry.

He didn’t mind if he was killed, but his father had always said that whatever a man did, he had to do it with dignity.

Hence, he had no intention to beg for his life. From the way these two had been prepared for him, he had already understood that he had somehow given away his plan.

After the Tera moved back and sat down while still keeping its eyes fixed on him, Edmond shrugged and pushed himself back, before finding the wall of the window through which he had sneaked in. Propping his back on it, he adopted a sitting position. 
The cold, night wind caressed the back of his head, making a small smile come on his face.

He had nothing more to lose, so although there was a deep frustration that he would die without fulfilling even one of the wishes he had, he realised that nothing mattered any more. 

All he could do was hope to find forgiveness when he met his father among the stars.

Seeing Edmond look completely relaxed, Aaron was puzzled.

Was it that he thought that Aaron might be letting him go?

Or could there be another reason?

Aaron just didn’t understand it. The basic, core objective of life was to survive. Even tiny beasts which were going to be eaten up by a larger predator would put up a fight, unwilling to give up their life without at least trying to escape and live on.

Yet, this guy looked like he was ready to die?

What was wrong with him?

“What’s wrong with you?”, asked Aaron, taking a seat on the bed and looking straight into the eyes of Edmond. 

His hair which had been immaculate in the morning was now completely tussled, and his clothes were dusty and torn in some places.

He was no longer the man he had been, and this was even reflected in his eyes, where all the valor and confidence that Aaron had seen before were gone.

Aaron was…curious. He couldn’t deny it.

After living for years in a simple environment where almost all questions could be answered with two answers: fight or flight, encountering something complex like this which he didn’t understand intrigued him to no end.

He had always liked puzzles. In his life, he, himself, was the biggest puzzle, so he loved to solve smaller ones as they always gave him a sense of accomplishment.

For instance, he would often try to find the nest of a Bladewing Pigeon from the traces it left behind, and if it was killed, he would try to figure out which of the tens of predators that were nearby could have killed it.

Woof would ridicule him when he failed in these ‘simple pursuits’, as that was how it saw them. With its superior senses, it would give him the answer, or let him know if he was wrong while gloating when he asked it.

This, along with one other past time which Woof always scowled at, were some of the main reasons why he hadn’t gone insane because of the tough life.

Hearing the question which was asked in a tone which made Edmond understand that the other party wasn’t ridiculing him, he was pretty shocked.

He had been expecting scorn, derision or contempt, but he now remembered that this guy wasn’t someone who had grown up in human society. He had grown up among Teras, and usually, Teras wouldn’t bother to show such emotions.

Realizing this, Edmond saw a tiny chance that he might live. He couldn’t understand why, but something told him that the best decision right now would be to answer everything he was asked. He trusted his gut, even though it had let him down multiple times before, and spoke. After all, the man in front of him couldn't be assessed using any standards he knew.

“Do you mean to ask the reason behind me aiming to enslave your Tera?”

This made Aaron frown. He knew simple emotions and motivations such as greed, so he had assumed that it might be that.

Still, wanting to confirm it, he said, “Yes. That, and why you are ready to die without fighting.”

This response made Edmond take a deep breath before letting it out and beginning his tale.

“Where do I start? I guess I can begin with my childhood…”

“GRR!”

A loud growl from the Tera which was within arm’s reach of him made Edmond yelp with fright and stop speaking, before he regained his composure and looked at Aaron questioningly.

Smiling, Aaron understood and said, “Woof doesn’t like it when any beast…or Tera, as you call them, speaks too much. It could tell that you became too relaxed, so it wanted to remind you that you’re still on its to-eat list. You should answer clearly, fast.”

Aaron wasn’t even lying. Last time it had encountered a Tera of its own species which had gone on and on about other things, such as its troubles in finding food, without answering a simple question about the location of a predator, Woof had leaped at it and wrestled it into submission, making it spit out the answer.

Aaron’s answer and the cold smile on his face made Edmond gulp, before he decided that eloquence was definitely not something he should pursue now.

So, he chose the short version.

“My mother left my father for someone more powerful, and because he tried to stop her, he is imprisoned and is going to be killed. I want a strong Tera so that I can go back and save them.”

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About the author

KillerHemboy

Bio: I'm an aspiring author who fell in love with writing the moment I wrote my first story.
Most Notable Work: World Domination System, an 800,000 word ongoing fantasy novel which can be found at https://www.webnovel.com/book/11413811606356705/World-Domination-System

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