Chapter 3

“He imprinted a boar, Sera. A boar,” Vernon said.

“What? How?” Sera turned to look towards the entrance of the cave. Vur was sitting on Vernon’s head holding a squirming baby boar.

“Mama, look,” Vur said while dangling the boar out in front of him. The four-year-old smiled wide and hugged the boar to his chest. “I named her Snuffles.”

Sera glared at Vernon before directing her gaze to Vur. “Did you imprint it?” she asked.

“Imprint? I don’t know what that is,” Vur said while shaking his head. Vernon snorted. This brat.

“Tell Mama how you found him.”

“Snuffles is a girl, she has eyes like Mama. I was making mud cakes outside and I saw her. I tried to feed her one, but she kept trying to run away so I did what Papa does to me when I don’t eat. Then she stopped moving, but I didn’t want her to stop; so I hugged her and a bright light appeared. Then Papa came,” Vur said and tilted his head to one side. “What is she, Mama?”

Sera looked at the boar. That is most definitely a male. She sighed. “We’re going to have a long talk, Vur.”

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Elise looked at her stables and sighed. There was so much space now that Johann had left. She was about to enter when she sensed a presence behind her.

“Elise, His Majesty seeks your presence,” a black robed man said as he extended his hand towards her. Elise looked at his face, trying to see through the shadows, before she stepped towards him and grabbed his hand.

“Are you ready?” the man asked with a smile. Before she could answer, her vision went dark. The color returned and Elise gasped and stumbled to find her footing.

“I didn’t say yes,” she said and spat. The man smiled before he disappeared.

“Elise.”

“Your Majesty.” Elise turned around and knelt on the floor.

“Why can’t Johann use magic?” Rudolph asked.

“You may rise,” the king said.

Elise stood up and observed the men in front of her. The prince was frowning and the king wasn’t smiling. Gale was like a statue as he stood there watching her.

“He hasn’t been imprinted. All magical beasts can imprint their young to grant them their lineage,” Elise said. “Beasts instinctually avoid other beasts with greater imprints. Without an imprint, a magical beast is just a beast.”

“Then get him imprinted,” the prince said.

“Is that possible?” the king asked.

“Only if you can find a dragon willing to imprint him,” Elise replied.

“What about a different beast?” Gale asked.

Elise shook her head. “If you imprint Johann with, say, a magical boar, then his potential and abilities will be limited to the level of the boar.”

Gale raised an eyebrow. “Then if a dragon imprinted a boar?”

“Then that dragon’s retarded.”

 

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