It was then that Garrius Feraligatr turned to his two sons. A Charmander, in the middle of his youth years stood beside his Totodile brother. Only a single month separate their births, making the Charmander the elder of the two. They were both covered in their own assortment of cuts and bruises. As usual, another of their disputes had turned bitter.
"Now," as it always did, Garrius' voice emerged like the sound of a distant landslide. "I'm gonna be silent for a moment while I hear the stupid excuses you two are gonna give me. Go."
At his consent, a congested chorus of bickering and blabber stormed forth from the two. The sudden barrage made a nerve twitch in Garrius' jaw. A growl of irritation escaped him. "Mycaelis! Vagus!" he spat out both of his son's names. "One at a time! Do I have to knock both your bloody skulls together?"
An abrupt silence followed his outburst. The jungle was warm and writhe with the buzzing of insects. It was a typical day in a place that one would normally refer to as hell. The Charmander, Mycaelis, spoke. "Wasn't my fault, dad. Vagus had it comin' to him!"
"I did not!" snapped his younger sibling. With a pair of fierce emerald green eyes, he turned to Mycaelis. "I didn't even do anything to ya!"
"As if ya didn't! That Salamence was just about ready to munch on us because of you!"
Vagus scoffed. "Me? Try blaming the stupid-ass flame on your tail! He spotted us because of you!"
Mycaelis eyes narrowed. "Well, you screaming like a little bitch didn't help!"
The two continued to bicker, casting their own logic at one another as though they were stones. The Salamence which they referred to was now dead. Far behind Garrius, a crater of ice had been carved into the jungle. At the epicentre of the freezing crater, lay the frozen and mangled body of a once proud Salamence. Garrius' Blizzard attack had made short work of the creature, just as it made short work of anyone that opposed him.
"I told you not to wake him!" barked Mycaelis. "But as usual, ya don't fuckin' listen!"
Vagus was quick to counter the claim with one of his own. "You're the one that wanted to try and steal its golden tooth! You're the one that almost lured it home!"
"I didn't hear you suggesting any other plan!"
"I wanted to hide in the bushes, but no, apparently my brother has a stupid-fuckin' flame on his tail that the whole damn world can see!"
"Wow, that's a new tactic, Vagus!" Mycaelis' voice oozed sarcasm. "Been taking lessons from a Wurmple?"
"Calling me gutless? That's rich coming from someone who tries to snap off the tooth of a sleeping Salamence."
The argument went on. Garrius sighed and crosses his arms, letting his two son's vent their frustrations. He would remain at hand in case things escalated to a more physical level. The Salamence was one of Tivoli's favoured cronies . A cruel, down-right-bastard-of-a-prick. The dragon was renowned for its golden fore-fang and had become a figure of fascination amongst youths that had nothing better to do.
"You're an idiot, Michael!" snapped Vagus. "Dad's gonna have to fight off Tivoli again because of you!"
Mycaelis scoffed. "Ha! You freaking serious? Dad's got Tivoli scared and everything in this jungle knows it!"
"Do you seriously think he's gonna let this slide? You're so stupid!"
In a small sense, Mycaelis was right. It was widely known that Tivoli was terrified of Garrius' unnatural power. However, Vagus, as he always did, seemed to have his logic right. It would be very likely that Tivoli would put aside his fears to extract some form of retribution. It was somewhat of a bother for Garrius, but even so, he would be more than ready for the tyrant should he, or more of his cronies, come.
"Law of the jungle, mate!" snapped Mycaelis. "Ya don't get anywhere trying to lay low!"
"There's a difference between laying low and being reasonable, Michael!" snapped Vagus "Dad's gonna have to fight because of ya!" He gave his Charmander brother a heavy shove. "And if he gets hurt, it's gonna be your fault!"
"Don't you push me, you little prick!" Mycaelis shoved Vagus back.
It was time to intervene.
"Enough!" barked Garrius. He growled and exposed a line of serrated teeth to his sons. The hulking Feraligatr towered over the two. Even amongst his own species he stood as a colossus; an oversized engine of destruction. His two sons gazed up at him with a pair of fearful eyes. Garrius was never known to keep his cool. "Enough of this crap! Go home! You're dead-meat if I catch ya trying to go out for the rest of this week!"
"Dad!" protested Mycaelis. I'm supposed to be meeting up with Martinius and Sly tomorrow!"
"Too bad! You're gonna have to wait till next week to see your uncle and cousin! Now get the hell outta my sight!"
It was Mycaelis' love for his cousin that made the punishment all the more harder. Although he tried his best to hide it, Garrius knew that Mycaelis looked up to his Grovyle cousin and hung on almost his every word. He had not seen him in months.
Vagus grumbled and turned his back on both Mycaelis and Garrius and wondered in the direction of home. His brother was left fuming on the spot, his Charmander hands were trembling with anger. The anger, the hate, the shame, the embarrassment and the frustration... it was too much. He soon caught sight of a nearby stone.
"You prick!" screamed Mycaelis. With a fast arm, he cast the stone with all his strength at Vagus. The stone flew fast as it viciously cut through the air. It collided with the side of Vagus' head and impacted with a crack. Vagus gave only a grunt of pain as the force of the stone struck him to the ground.
"Mycaelis!" exclaimed Garrius, shocked at his son's sudden action. It was a reaction he did not anticipate.
"Get out of here! I fuckin' hate you!"
Vagus, with blood gushing from the wound on his head, got to his feet in a daze. He hid his tears from both his brother and his father. Garrius was relieved that he wasn't too physically harmed. Without even turning around, Vagus proceeded to shuffle his way back home, his feet and tail dragging their way across the jungle floor. He nursed the wound on his head in silence. Nobody would want to know or care about the pain.
Mycaelis made a move to pursue him, but was held back by his father who had knelt down to his level. "Wait." He pressed the Charmander's shoulder firmly with his claw.
It was not until Vagus had disappeared into the forest that Garrius spoke. "Did you get it?"
"Huh?" Mycaelis looked up to his father with a pair of inquisitive eyes.
"The tooth. Did you get the golden tooth?"
Mycaelis grinned. Unfolding his hand, he presented the tooth to his father's eyes. He had managed to snap off roughly the last 2 inches of the Salamence's tooth. "Yup," he affirmed proudly.
Garrius felt a small mixture of pride and astonishment swell within him. "Y-you actually did it?" He wasn't about to let his son see any of it. "Impressive, but please, son, don't be so reckless. Ever. That creature almost..."
"It wasn't my fault, dad," hissed Mycaelis. "Vagus woke the Salamence up, not me."
Garrius solemnly nodded. In truth, he was not angry at Mycaelis' recklessness, such motions were natural in Charmanders of his age. "Mycaelis. Who is that Totodile?" Garrius' tone was soft and silk-smooth.
"He's Vagus," grumbled Mycaelis, remaining adamant.
"No. What is he to you?"
Mycaelis went silent for a while before giving his sour reply. "My brother."
Garrius nodded. "Mycaelis. You may think that I will always be here to protect you and to keep Tivoli away. Yes, I might be stronger than anything this jungle can throw at me, but I am not immortal. One day, I'll be gone, and won't be able to protect you anymore."
"Pah!" scoffed Mycaelis. "And Vagus will? I don't need him! I'll be strong enough to protect myself."
Garrius chuckled. "Oh how you remind me of when I was your age. Your uncle and I hated each other's guts." His eyes shimmered as they gazed upon Mycaelis. "Then you're grandad passed on and, in the end, he was all I had and I was all he had."
"Dad," hissed Mycaelis. "Vagus won't be able to protect me! He almost got me killed today! He's gonna be the death of me!"
Garrius eyes narrowed. "If anything, you almost got him killed today. What in the devil were you thinking going after that Salamence? Stupid and bloody reckless! Vagus loves you, Mycaelis. He follows you and always has since he hatched. Do you ever think that it might be you that will be the death of him? Do you?"
Mycaelis remained silent as his head drooped to the ground. The lesson had just struck home.
Garrius continued. "Mycaelis, you are going to realise one of these days just how much Vagus means to you. And if this is gonna be your attitude, then you're in for a world of hurt if something happens to him."
"Sorry," whispered Mycaelis.
"Don't apologise to me, Son. Save it for Vagus. He lives so that you will never be alone, even when I am gone. Remember that."
Mycaelis gave a solemn nod and gazed at the golden tooth that he held in his hand. After contemplating the danger he had placed Vagus in, it seemed to make him feel more shame than pride.
Garrius rose to his full height once more and gazed down at Mycaelis. "Your mum has a nice golden chain that will go with that," he said. "Ask her nicely and she might make a pendant for ya." He gently placed a hand on his son's shoulder and escorted him home. "Come, let's go."
Mycaelis smiled at the thought of having the tooth as a pedant. Most would see it as a fitting way of displaying a bravely acquired trophy. Mycaelis, however, saw it differently. It was a reminder; a reminder of how he had almost lost his sibling. A reminder that Vagus would always be the dearest of his treasures.