“Pokey is an eleven hundred year old manticore we found wandering around the Shamutanti Hills looking for lost human adventurers. He is very friendly with people, hopping up to give them kisses that unfortunately end in Pokey swallowing the person whole. This habit should be curbed when he is neutered, which will be done when a vet can get close enough to him without being eaten. Pokey is a good friend to a household without other mythological creatures, as he is a little jealous and tends to maul anything and anyone he can see. He likes treats and full sized adult males to eat. Won’t you welcome him into your home?”
Grief, Captain of the Blooddrinkers, looked up from the form at Agnautius. The wizard didn’t even turn away from his spellbook, idly sipping his drink.
Grief stood up, his skull visor falling over his face. “Why not? I’ll feed him and take care of him! Besides, he’ll keep out unwanted adventurers, and you know how many of them have been sneaking in through the Harrowing Crypts.”
Agnautius glanced over the rim of his mug. “You told me you would feed and walk the land sharks as well, but who ended up doing that after all?”
Grief hung his head. “You did.”
“I didn’t quite hear that.”
“Exactly. I ended up taking care of those things after long days of communing with the Dimensions of Madness when I should have been enjoying a night’s rest. Meanwhile, all you did was goof off and feed potions to my prisoners all day just to see what they could do. Need I also mention the damage you did to my clockwork chariot?”
Grief rubbed the back of his head, cradling the picture of Pokey close to his chest. “I was just trying to impress you by washing it.”
“Washing it all the way into the hands of Shovak the Good. Do you have any idea how much it costs to get one of those drawn into this plane of existence?”
Agnautius put his drink down, looking right at him. Grief was hardly touching his oatmeal, just picking up the spoon and dropping it back down into it, mumbling exploding sounds under his breath. The wizard sighed, reaching out his hand. Grief surged to life, coming around to his side of the table and hopping up and down as he showed him the page.
“See! See! Look at that tail! Just like a scorpion. He probably has poison in it and everything! I bet if he even scratches an adventurer, that guy will die in like a few minutes!”
Agnautius put on his glasses, bringing the picture closer to his eyes. “It looks…odd. Is it crying or something? What’s wrong with its face?”
“It’s trying to be mean, Lord Of Darkness!”
Agnautius laughed, smirking a bit. “Menacing. Right. I must have missed that.” He turned to Grief, pointing right down at the page. “Young man, having a Manticore is a much bigger responsibility than having a land shark. You have to keep them well fed on peasants, and that gets expensive. Eventually the town you get them from catches on and declares war on the castle, and fighting back needs supplies. Do you think you can afford all of that on your allowance?”
Grief was still jumping up and down, his armor clanking. “Yeah! The pet shop owner told me he can eat adventurers whole with their armor on, so I can feed him cheap just by using the people who storm the castle all the time. I can have him guard the crypts and sewers, so he’ll always have more heroes to eat. He’ll also keep this place safe that way! So, can I please have him?”
Agnautius looked back to his spellbook, letting Grief feel just a little bit of doubt. He had a hard time keeping the smile off his face before relenting. “Yes.”
Grief jumped in the air, hugging the ancient mage. “Thank you, mighty lord! I’m going to go tell the other Blooddrinkers right now!” He scampered off, the wizard wondering why he always indulged him.