"I heard you managed to tame the new beast from Africa." Mr. Proulx said suddenly, breaking the silence in the dining room.
"Mm... I wouldn't call it taming, father." Casimir swallowed his food. "The stupid beast just forced itself onto me."
Mr. Proulx coughed and narrowed his eyes. "...I see."
Silence ensued as the father and son ate dinner.
"So... How was your day?"
Why is this so awkward?! Both Casimir and Mr. Proulx thought at the same time.
"...It was horrible." Casimir stated seriously as he picked the vegetables from his food. "I got sprayed by the lawn sprinklers, accidentally put coffee powder in the stew, and got pinned down by an overgrown cat! What's more is that said cat refused to leave me alone and had to be put to sleep temporarily by Edgar so I could get away!"
There was a short moment of silence after Casimir's outburst. Suddenly the two of them burst out laughing.
"Long day, huh?" Mr. Proulx joked.
"Extremely long day!" Casimir replied.
"Well, now you know how I feel when you get into some sort of mess." Mr. Proulx grinned at his son. "That beast... Do you like it?"
"It's not that I like. It's more like it likes me." Casimir shoved a slice of meat into his mouth. "But it's okay, I guess."
"You can have it." Mr. Proulx suddenly declared, causing Casimir to choke on his food. "W-what?!"
"You heard me." Mr. Proulx grinned towards his son who was drinking his water hastily. "You can treat it as an early birthday gift. But!... You have to take care of it on your own since the beast's former caretaker is now....resigned."
"Well, I'm done eating." He stood up and gestured for the servants to take his plates away. "I still have something important to do so I'll see you tomorrow."
Wait! Come back! I don't want this birthday gift!
Casimir stared at his plate with a pale face.
The next morning, Casimir was carrying-
No, let me rephrase.
Casimir was dragging an unknown creatures leg, heading towards the isolated stable 26.
"Argh!" Casimir suddenly let out a loud scream which sounded more like an amplified groan.
Why did it end is way?!
All I wanted was a safe retirement period! I just wanted to relax for a few years but now, I have to spend my days taking care of a stupid beast! Argh!
Casimir grumpily kicked the gate of stable 26. " Wake up, stupid beast!"
Having heard a familiar voice, the Skaduwee's ears perked up. It immediately stood up from its resting location and ran towards the gate in excitement.
With the key which was given to him by Edgar, Casimir unlocked the gate and entered the stable while dragging the animal leg. "Your breakfast's here!"
Before he even had time to close the gate, Casimir found himself falling to the ground, having been pushed by the beast. "Not me! Your breakfast is over there, you stupid beast!"
It seemed as if the beast didn't hear what he said as it rubbed its huge, furry head all over Casimir's body, acting like an overgrown house cat which just missed its owner.
"Argh! Alright! Enough already!"
For the next few days, Casimir spent most of his time inside stable 26, feeding, grooming, and accompanying the Skaduwee.
He spent so much time inside the stable that, even while he was dreaming, he was still in the stable, taking care of the huge beast.
These past few days, although Casimir refused to admit it, he began to get used to the beast's presence and began opening up to it.
The following days after that, Casimir began to bring various books to the stable every time he visited, reading aloud to the beast which just stared at him attentively even though it couldn't understand a word he was saying.
On one day, while Casimir was brushing the beast's fur, he suddenly paused and slapped his forehead, making the Skaduwee look at him in bewilderment. "Of course! How could I forget that?!"
I was so used to calling it stupid beast that I forgot to give it a proper name! Casimir gave himself a mental kick.
"Stupid beast! Today, I will name you!" Casimir declared as he pointed towards the beast in a dignified way.
Eh? Didn't you already given me a name? Silly master. The Skaduwee thought to itself. Fortunately, Casimir couldn't read the beast's mind or else he would have kicked the beast for calling him silly.
Stupid beast! Let me tell you, this great I, was once at the top of the Assassin Rankings in a whole kingdom! Hmph!
"Since you're stupid, how about Terne?" The beast huffed and flicked its tail, clearly disliking the name.
"No? Then what about Armure? Foncé? Nuit?"
Casimir tried a few more names but, none of them managed to get a positive reaction from the beast.
He sighed. "Well, since you're black, let's go with Noir?"
Finally, the beast's ears twitched and looked at him, as if agreeing with name.
"Alright! From now one, your name is Noir!" Casimir smiled, relieved that they had found a name which both of them were satisfied with. "Nice to meet you, Noir. I'm Casimir Marie Proulx." He grinned at the beast which was staring at his face curiously.
"Let's take care of each other, okay?"
The beast rubbed its head on Casimir's chest, seeming to agree with him.