I am a Garm.
“Garm, take care of that Lizard there!”
Tsk… why am I under the employment of this rude human, you ask?
Without this contract compelling my heart and soul so, I would be a free beast… so how did I end up where I am now, you ask?
The answer lies in whatever happened months ago…
■□■□ Several Months Ago ■□■□
“Hey, come have some salted-and-peppered meat~~♪”
“Now! Here, I invoke the Lord and Retainer Contract!”
■□■□ Present Day ■□■□
Ngh… how did things turn out this way? I do not understand.
My Master is a bespectacled gentleman.
Currently, we are en route to a certain labyrinth within the Thirsty Desert; our objective: to subjugate a creature called Lizard General that resides there.
This here is what I call a dead land, containing almost nothing but rocks and sand. Bones of monsters, animals, and humans occasionally littered our path.
It is also populated by several kinds of the Lizard archetype, but those lowlife creatures are no match for one such as I.
Now, I shall demonstrate why my kind is called the King Wolf!
“Prepare yourself! GARRR!!”
“Gah – ow ow owwww?! S-stop! I’m a Garm – a King Wolf, I’ll have you know!”
W-what unrefined creatures! They don’t even wait for their turns to bite me!
My Master’s electrifying bolts struck my enemies-
Impossible – did my Master include me in the targets of his attack as well?
“…Ah, my Master. What a stimulating assistance that was.”
“Stimulating assistance my ass! Try to make yourself at least a bit useful! All you do in screw up again and again – I’ll remind you that I can get you replaced just about anytime I want!”
“Yes, my apologies. But you do remember the compelling force of the Lord and Retainer Contract, yes? I felt that it was too strong – yes, that’s it.”
“Oh, for the love of God… what the hell did I do to deserve this…”
Hmph, you can be eternally confused for all I care.
It’s because of your low level of intelligence that you cannot harness my full potential.
“…Well… the final solution, then…”
Took you long enough. Indeed, there is no other choice.
Look at the present. And look into the future, when my powers of a Garm – of a King Wolf – awaken… Then you will-
“-Hmm? My Master, what is this sign for? ‘FREE OF CHARGE’… what is this supposed to mean?”
“It’s for your neck. Go around with this and find yourself a new boss. Good luck with the next chapter of your life… if this isn’t the last. Here, I void the Lord and Retainer Contract! …There, done. See ya.”
My Master is walking away. Alone, amid the violent shifting sands of the Thirsty Desert.
And then – ah, now he’s completely out of sight.
I am a Garm.
As of now, I have no Master.
I’ve no idea how I can find myself one, what with this being the Thirsty Desert, where almost no man treads.
I wish to do something – anything – to get myself out of this forsaken land, but that last order of his to find myself a new Master first is preventing me from doing so.
Regardless… I will not yield.
[“KEHEHEHEH! If it isn’t the Garm – what, you finally got thrown out for being so useless, eh?”]
[“Out of my way, lizard. You are a hindrance to my noble mission.”]
[“Hah, like you can even take on one of us with the way you are now. Hey guys, come get a piece of him!”]
Hmph, if they think they can prevail over me now that I am not under any contract-
“Gah – owowowow-! I’m so sorry I’m so sorry! I won’t say anything rude anymore!”
“Ahh, that hurt! Gah – this looks bad! This wound seriously looks bad!
WHYYYY?! Why won’t my powers return?!
A beautifully red enclosing wall of fire suddenly appeared, separating me from the scaly bastards. What perfect timing.
The lizards are startled by the abrupt outburst of flames, and then notices a hooded figure approaching them from behind.
As soon as they realize that the figure is human, the lizards attempt to attack him – or her – and are grilled alive by the fire.
Hmm, what a delightful smell this is.
By the time everything was burned, the enclosing wall of fire disappeared, with its caster – a human in a gray hooded mantle – standing before my eyes.
It seems that the person is reading the sign on my neck.
Hmm, I see, I see. So you are to be my new Master. Very good – now, let me get a closer look.
The person is walking away.
“Wha – why are you leaving? You realize that I am a Garm, also known as a King Wolf, right?”
A woman, I would assume. She refused me with that high-pitched voice of hers.
Judging from her approximate stature, she is a third of my size. On the scale of a human woman’s height, she seems to be on the shorter side.
Her physique seems average, if not leaning toward the scrawny side. I would assume that she has not gotten to eat very well.
No, that is not what I ought to occupy my mind with now. Why does she not want me? Me, a Garm, a King Wolf?!
“L-Listen… if you make a contract with me… well, many good things will happen!”
“Hmm, good question – I knew at first glance that you were a skilled individual.”
“Y-you will have this tail of mine! It’s nice and fluffy and exceptionally good as a pillow, yes? My former Master even sang its praises – in his words, ‘despite everything’.”
“…So that’s the only thing?”
“O-of course not-“
“So what else?”
“C’mon, hand. You can’t do that?”
Damn this womanchild… To think she is making such a mockery of me by associating me with dogs-
“What, you can’t do that? Beg?”
“See, you can if you just try.”
YOU… DAMN YOU LITTLE-!!
What a disgrace! What a humiliating form she has manipulated me into!
“That’s not how it’s supposed to go! With how things were developing, shouldn’t the Lord and Retainer Contract come next?!”
“I mean, you were just getting destroyed by the Lizards, right? I’m not desperate enough to need someone THAT weak.”
This girl… just called ME weak?
“You do know that I am a Garm – a King Wolf – right?”
“Already heard that.
“…You want to be my Familiar that much?”
“N-no way, of course not!”
“Wha – no, no, no, no, no! You see, I am unable to leave this place because of the last order issued by my former Master! Could you please initiate a Lord and Retainer Contract with me, at the very least until I leave this desert?!”
“…Hmm. That’s probably your former Master making sure that you don’t immediately get back at him… Normally his commands would stop taking effect once the contract is voided, but… if what you’re saying is true, then I guess there’s no other way around it.”
“T-that is so! What a horrible Master he was!”
And now, why is she sitting down?
Ngh – now that she is up close, I can clearly see the lingering child-like features on that face of hers. Oh, for the love of God… she actually is a child! Does she intend to have me be her fellow children’s playmate?!
“You want to leave here?”
“Will you listen to my every order?”
“W-what encompasses… ‘everything’?”
“Will you? Will you not?”
“I will, I will! I’ll listen to everything you say!”
“…All right, then. Here, get in position. And… SIT!”
Hmph, behold my refined and elegant sitting form!
This splendid fur, these burly legs, this fearsome glint in my eyes… you realize that I am a first-class beast all across the board, right?
Ah, now she’s gotten her staff out of her… bust. No matter – the contract is finally underway. She sure kept me waiting.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise! …’I proposeth this contracteth to thee. Doth thou gage the loyalty of thy very life to me?'”
(Xem: child girl, wanders alone, knows magic, one more fan of Rammstein (Reise Reise)… Tifa?)
“Ah, yes, I do.”
W-what dreadful glare her eyes make! That made me answer the question without even thinking it through!
Gah, now I’m having second thoughts about my decision… But regardless, what is this compelling force I feel?
“O heareth us, God of our ev’rlasting timeth, for here, the contracteth between he and I shalt beest seal’d with a bond of steel. May this eternally unbreakable bond of ages past bindeth the blood oath of our present and persist to our future… Here, I invoke the Lord and Retainer Contract!”
…I am a Garm.
“All right-y… From now on, you’re ‘Tarawo’.”
From this moment onward, I am Tarawo.
Now I feel that I have signed myself into an absurdly terrible contract, but whatever comes next, I have to hold on until I am out of this desert. Things are sure to work out.
“First of all, forget that promise I made before your contract, all right?”
“Didn’t you say you’ll listen to my every order?”
I take back what I thought. My journey with this brutish, devilish new Master just may not work out after all.
“My name’s Tifa, by the way. Sure hope we get along, Tarawo.”