Raif did not like the man with the black cloak. It did not like him one bit. There was a bitter, metallic smell to him that burned in the creature’s nose, a smell that it had encountered before and associated with pain. Raif’s memory did not extend far enough back to recall the exact circumstances under which it had smelt this particular odor, only that they had been bad ones.
Raif sprang at him, becoming a heavy bundle of sharp teeth and bristling fur.
Its body impacted the black-cloaked man in the chest, knocking him backwards. The knife flew from the man’s hand, coming dangerously close to cutting Raif’s tail before landing in the grass, but the creature paid this no mind. It was too intent on sinking its teeth into the Bad Man’s flesh to notice such a trivial matter. Snarling with rage, it aimed for his throat. Tear it out. Soak its muzzle in his blood.
But its attack was repelled. Before the creature could go in for the kill, the man freed his hands and jammed them into Raif’s snapping mouth. The terrible, metallic smell filled its sinuses and cold darkness flooded into its body like contaminated water. The creature’s very bones seemed to become frosted iron, and it cried out in agony.
But Raif would not be cowed. If anything, it grew madder. Clamping its teeth down on the Bad Man’s fingers, it tore and twisted. The Bad Man screamed. Raif bit down harder, cracking bones in its jaws. Blood coated its tongue and stained crimson the white underside of its face. The Bad Man writhed beneath its paws, shrieking and sobbing.
And there were other people shrieking, too.
Suddenly, it was struck forcefully from the side, and it experienced a jolt of the same metallic sensation that the Bad Man had given him, except this time, it was something purer. And it hadn’t come from the Bad Man.
The force knocked Raif away from its victim and landed it clumsily on its back.
“Guards!” shouted an unfamiliar male voice. “Kill that dog!”