The boys Ofris had brought in had already wasted about two hours fixing their equipment, more than enough time for me to finish my own special project. I had melted down several pieces of silver, poured them into small, oval shapes to then let them cool down for a few long minutes.
I had polished every single one of them thoroughly enough for them to gain mirror-like surfaces before attaching them to a whitened leather belt that was about one and a half fingers wide, just enough for a small dog like the one Ofris had brought in.
This makeshift collar wasn't my best work by far, but it was more than enough for turning the little cutie into a fairy-like existence. Sure, it was way too much work to do for a pet, but the sole fact that it belonged to Ofris made me neglect the part of me that would have preferred doing something far less jewelry-like.
After losing Leira, Ofris had never loved or cherished anything or anyone ever again. He had lived his life without really smiling once, just dragging himself from day to day. If it wasn't for the young men and women he tried to teach to not do the same mistakes that had stolen his one true love, he would surely have ended up as a good-for-nothing drunkard.
Two hours ago he had just entered my workshop carrying a little pet as if it was the most normal thing to do. He not only let it sit on his lap, but he also petted it without a single break, too. He even talked to it!
I couldn't believe my eyes. This didn't fit him, not at all. The Ofris I knew had never shown such a warm and open side, at least not since Leira was gone. And it was a little, red-brownish dog that had brought forth this long-lost side of his.
Of course, I would cherish the pet that had changed him like this as much as I would cherish a girl who managed to do the same for him. And if the little thing was so dear to him that he couldn't even live without it for the two or maybe three days he would need to train the boys, it went without saying that I would do my utmost to help him keep it safe.
Silver was by far the best metal if it came to enchanting, that is if you cast aside the materials you could gain by slaying dragons and other magical creatures. And even though it was expensive, I didn't need to use much for the collar to be able to carry sufficient protection magic.
In the end, it wasn't Ofris that denied my gift but the dog itself. At first, it had barked at me, threatening me with its cute yelps, to then hide under the bench Ofris was sitting on. It took him a few whispering words to make it finally accept the collar.
But the quarrel of the two only started there. Ofris placed the collar around the little neck of his pet, put it back onto his lap and scratched it behind its ears to soothe it.
"She looks adorable!"
She wasn't liking it. At first, she still seemed okay with it, or at least she managed to endure, but she soon started fighting back. After futilely trying to push collar off using her legs, she barked at Ofris angrily, demanding for him to help her immediately. Each of her high-pitched barks carved away a small chunk of the proudness I had felt thanks to my little masterwork.
"She hates it..."
"She just needs to go for a walk," Ofris lied. "I'm sure she loves it!"
"She needs to go for a walk?"
"Rika drank a lot today. I am sure she is close to bursting!"
"Why are you letting her wait then?! Just go. I will keep an eye on the boys."
"I will be back in a few minutes."
"You can use the garden," I suggested, fearing he would just bring her back home to return without her.
"The garden? I don't think that is a good idea..."
"A little cutie like that won't make a difference."
"If you say so..."
Ofris left without a single more word. He carried the dog through the back entrance of my workshop, hurriedly closed the door behind him to then start talking to his pet once again. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but each of his words was answered by a sometimes angry, sometimes panicked yelp.
It was only after three more barks, which were almost inaudible, that their quarrel stopped and was exchanged by one that didn't make any sense.
"DO YOU WANT TO KILL ME?!" A girl's voice shouted.
I could only look at the door in confusion. There were walls surrounding my whole property which not only allowed for some private-sphere but much more importantly prevented thieves from finding their way into my workshop, but this girl had somehow found her way inside. I didn't even think twice before pushing open the door.
She just stood there in front of Ofris and complained about something he had done, all of this without even carrying about the cold wind that was attacking her bare skin.
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Garen: Why is she complaining about the collar?
Garen: Is it her pet?
Garen: It can't be. Ofris said he found it.
Garen: Maybe she is... envyious?
Garen: That cannot possibly... right?
Garen: Why would she want a collar?!
Garen: Are they...
Garen: Should I make a second one?