It was an afternoon three days after we had crushed the main base of the dark ones, which had been near the water dragon settlement.
I was resting on a bench in my mansion’s drawing-room.
Gerberga rested on my chest as I petted him gently.
“Lord Gerberga. Have you been getting enough exercise lately?”
I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but he did seem fine.
On the other hand, Grulf came to me with a piece of thick rope in his mouth. He then put his chin on my stomach.
The rope was about as thick as a pig’s foot and the length of my forearm.
I had tried to get rid of it while I was organizing my things, but Grulf seemed to have taken to it.
“Grulf. Why don’t you take a nap too?”
He whined as he pressed the rope into my hand.
He wanted to have a tug of war.
“You really are full of energy. We already walked around the water dragon settlement this morning…”
But it was no use, and so I got up and pulled the other end of the rope.
Lord Gerberga moved onto my shoulder.
I grabbed the rope and pulled. Grulf happily pulled the other end.
Grulf was young but big and very strong.
And perhaps that was why he needed so much exercise.
“We might have to take you on evening walks as well.”
He reacted to that. His tail began to wag enthusiastically.
I could feel him pulling the rope in a different direction now. He was trying to lead me to the room with the magic teleportation circle.
“I said in the evening. Now now.”
Spirit beasts were quite smart, and Grulf often understood me.
And so we continued to play.
After a while, Serulis, Shia and Nia entered the room.
They were covered in sweat from their training in the yard.
“Grulf. I see you’ve been playing!”
Shia’s tail wagged as she petted him.
“And you too, Lord Gerberga.”
Lord Gerberga clucked happily as Serulis petted him.
By the way, Milka and Luchila were helping Philly.
They assisted her in her work as an alchemist.
“Nia. How’s your training going?”
As soon as I called to her, her tail moved in excitement.
“Yes. As you suggested, I am using all I learned in the recent battle while I move!”
They had all fought bravely in the battle against Vampire Lords etcetera.
It was a valuable experience. And so remembering it would help them grow.
“Well, you three are still growing. Especially Nia and Serulis. You must allow that experience to settle as you take it easy for a while.”
“For how long?”
Nia and Serulis were still newcomers.
Vampire Lords were actually supposed to be too strong an enemy for them. They had been overworked, in a way.
Serulis asked with a puzzled expression.
I decided it was best not to say it.
Mana had been quite thick in that area.
A lot of evil dragons, Vampire Lords and Arch Vampires had died there.
So they would have taken in a lot of mana. And they had killed a number of them with their own hands as well.
I didn’t understand how it worked but killing the enemies yourself helped you grow faster.
And so I thought it would be good to take it easy until the immense volume of mana was able to settle within them.
The reason I didn’t say anything was that I didn’t want them to get overconfident about it.
Just then, Grulf pushed his nose around Serulis’s waist.
He began smelling her in earnest.
Serulis looked confused.
Grulf would not stop smelling her.
“Uh, Mister Locke. Could I use your bathing room?”
“Of course. You don’t have to ask every time.”
“I could never be so rude. Shia, Nia. Let’s go.”
And so they headed for the bathing room.
She had probably thought that she smelled bad because of Grulf.
Lord Gerberga flapped his wings and flew over to Serulis’s shoulder.
“Do you want to wash up too, Lord Gerberga?”
“Alright, then we can go together!”
Lord Gerberga usually bathed with Luchila.
They would probably bathe together later on. Still, Lord Gerberga never missed an opportunity to take an extra bath.
Apparently, it was something he really enjoyed.
“Why don’t you go too, Grulf?”
But Grulf picked up the rope again and pressed it into my hand.
He would rather play than take a bath.
As a pup, playing was what he liked the most.
And so we continued our tug of war.
“You killed a lof of evil dragons and vampire lords too, didn’t you Grulf?”
“Have you gotten stronger too?”
Grulf wagged his tail happily.
He was probably confident that he had gotten stronger.
“Well, you better eat a lot then.”
And so Grulf played to his heart’s content.