Bain and the small boy traveled for a few days, eating and telling stories along the way, before they came to a large forest. Bain had went through this way several times and always avoided the enormous woods because of it's inhabitants: the Bahamut Guild.
They were a group of bandits that made their base in the woods. Though they were generally ignorant of those who traveled through their woods, people had been known to disappear while travelling through them. Bain himself had never seen the bandits, but he made sure to avoid going through the woods when he could. Now, though, he was forced to go through the woods.
His Wife's life depended on his speed.
Luckily, the town he sought was just beyond the woods.
"Zero," Bain said, dismounting Dalzig. The black stallion looked at him nervously. The black stallion knew what Bain was feeling, or at least he seemed like he did. "If something happens, don't let go of Dalzig. He will protect you, understood?" The boy seemed confused, but nodded nonetheless.
Together, Bain, Dalzig, and Zero walked into the forest.
The child, that had recently been named Zero, stared at the wide expansion of forest around him from the back the black horse named Dalzig. Back where he had been born, there were only plains with a few sparse clumps of trees. Of course, he was never allowed outside the castle’s parameters. His father had been very strict on that point. The child’s mother had been killed earlier in the year by an escaped prisoner. It had been a very harsh experience that changed the boy called Zero’s father. He became overly protective of his children. But, someone had gotten in and stole him away…
Suddenly, the kind man, who proclaimed to be Bain, commanded the black horse to halt and drew his sword. The child was confused, but stayed quiet and tried to listen for whatever Bain had heard. A twig snapped to their right.
Bain jerked to the side and blocked something. The sound of metal on metal rang through the child’s head. He pressed himself against Dalzig as more metallic noises rang through the air and covered his face with his hands. The sounds continued for a while along with shuffling footsteps. The boy didn’t know what to do, so he stayed low on the horse and tried to glimpse what was going on through his small fingers.
A little ways away, Bain stood with his back to the child and the horse that carried him. Another man seemed to be in front of Bain and, from what the child called Zero could see, was fighting Bain at a very fast pace. Bain leaped to the side and revealed a long cut down his upper arm, along with the other man’s face…
Bain rolled away from his black haired assailant, and parried another powerful slash to his middle. The other man had tried to come in silence, but when Bain took notice, the other man apparently gave up the sneaking and just attacked. The man had dark green leather armor and a sleek build that belied his great strength. The man was fast, deadly, and very angry. He would most certainly have killed any ordinary man. If not for Bain’s years as a soldier, he would’ve probably been dead already.
Another slice can toward Bain’s head at near-lightning speed. Bain ducked and grabbed the other man’s hand as it went by. Pulling the man’s back to his chest. Bain put his sword to his throat. But before he could ask the man his name, the man rammed his elbow into Bain’s stomach and twisted out of the grip. Bain jumped back and immediately started blocking the man’s oncoming sword. Bain thought of how he could immobilize the man.
“STOP IT!!!” The voice of Zero screamed from behind him. The man’s sword stopped and he jumped back. Bain did the same, eyeing the man and watching his movements. Footsteps that could only be Zero’s walked up beside him. Why had the boy left Dalzig's saddle?
The boy walked out in front of Bain a little ways and looked at the man for a while. Bain thought he saw anger and reverence in his eyes, which was strange.
Then Zero spoke to the man, “Hello again, Big Bro.” Bain felt joy and regret flow through his head at the same time.