Chapter Five: Reptile and I

After leaving Couvrant after a farewell to Lord Groul, I made my way towards this place that Groul had recommended me to go, Castle Riverstone via a place called Aktes. I spent several days trekking the path at a leisurely pace and camping when I needed to, making sure to properly protect myself from potential threats, not only wildlife, but also bandits and the like that seems to be notorious for midnight robberies back in the Medieval era.

I started to think about how different the people would be in Aktes than Couvrant, what this king was like, but most of all I was curious about one thing. I was unsure of what to expect of this 'Reptile' that Groul had told me about but I would find out sooner or later. The ironic thing was though that I would find out sooner than I would have expected.

Walking along a winding path, I came to see Aktes just beyond the horizon. "Oh good at least I'm nearly-" I began to think when I heard a commotion in the forest path nearby. My curiosity, which had a bad habit of getting the better of me, well…got the better of me once again. "Leave no one standing! We don't want any running back to Riverstone now do we?" A voice said in the woodland path.

"I suppose it couldn't hurt to take a quick look…" I thought to myself as I stealthily made my way through the woods and closer to the sounds. Hiding behind a tree I saw a gang of people whom had surrounded several others, the middle group, most dead or mortally wounded.

"An ambush…" I thought to myself as I looked on. "Come on, kill the rest of them and let's make off with the supplies already!" one of the bandits said as several bowmen fired at a group that were huddled behind a supply cart.

"Sir Reptile, most of our men are either dead or wounded, what are we supposed to do?" A voice behind the cart asked another.

"Sir Reptile?" I thought to myself as I thought that I found this individual faster than I thought I would have.

"Hold your position, hopefully the reinforcements we sent for well arrive soon" 'Reptile' said to him.

"They'll never be able to hold out till then at this rate" I muttered under my breath, they were holding them down and others were starting to flank them. If I didn't do something, they were as good as done, I drew my Burst handguns and was about to fire until…

"Hey, who the hell are you?" A voice said as I looked in front of me to see one of the bandits standing in front of me.

"Dammit!" I cursed as I had to act quickly and quickly raised my handguns.

"Hey, they have reinforce-" he said as he went to raise his bow, but I was faster, I raised one of my handguns and fired a burst shot and the sound of it rang out. Three bullets hit him, one on the chest, one in the neck and one right between his eyes as he fell to the ground dead.

"Hey we got another one back there, kill him too!" one of them said, I guessed him to be the leader. I heard footsteps come either side of the tree and readied my weapons. They got louder until they came on both sides of the tree as I raised my weapons to fire either side. They both seemed to hear it as they looked to see me, but before they could react I pulled the triggers and the sound rang out again as they hit them both in the chest as they fell over dead as well.

"Sir, whoever is back there is slaughtering our men!" one of the bandits said as the leader seemed to get infuriated. "Agh, I'll take care of this pest myself, keep on the soldiers, leave no one alive!" The leader said as I heard the brandishing of a large weapon, possibly an axe.

"Are the reinforcements here sir?" the soldier said from behind the cart.

"No, it's someone else, I do not remember any weapons that emit that sound" 'Reptile' said from behind the cart.

The leader of them was good; it was hard for me to tell where he was coming from. "At least one of these guys has a brain" I thought to myself as I quickly got out my katanas as he jumped and swung his axe down hard, just blocking it in time, but knocking me to the ground at the same time.

"And just who the hell are you?" the bandit leader growled as he pushed down while I was on the ground, pushing up so I could get back on my feet.

"Well I certainly ain't your ally" I said as I got one of my feet under and kicked him in the groin before pushing up hard and then kicking him in the head as I got back to my feet.

The leader got up and spat to the side "You little brat, looks like I need to teach you some manners" he said, fuming.

"No thanks, I think my personal etiquette is fine the way it is" I chuckled, but it only served to aggravate him more.

He ran at me in a rage as he swung hard in a circle, causing me to flip backwards to avoid it. "Hey watch it, you could hurt someone with that thing!" I said as I stood back from him.

"Grrr, that's the whole point!" he growled as he ran at me again.

"This guy just doesn't quit does he?" I thought as I ran at him, using the slippery surface of the wet grass to slide under him and jump back up before kicking him in the back. I realized it might have been a grave mistake on my part and his as I saw his axe fall underneath him, the blade straight up as I turned around and heard the sound of the axe impaling him.

I took a step and collapsed a bit, my blade coming out in time to support me, looking to my leg, I saw a cut along it; most likely he got lucky and cut my leg when I flipped backwards. "Dammit, that's gonna scar, hope Mega will have something for that when I get back…" I thought as I drank an elixir from inside my pouch seeming, as they were somewhat easy to carry.

The wound seemed to heal up all right, but a large scar was seen, so it was only a temporary measure for me to take until I got back to Twilight Town, but at least I could walk now without any problems. I drew my rifle and made my way back through the woods, to check up on the two guys behind the cart.

But unfortunately one of them was unlucky and I saw one of them in front of the cart with an arrow through his head. "Dammit, he didn't deserve it…" I muttered under my breath as I looked to see one of them was still left there.

"Hey you still kicking over there?" I shouted out to him.

"Yes, but all of my men were slaughtered…" the remaining solider said, whom I recognized as Reptile's voice which I sighed in relief that Groul's friend hadn't been killed. But even so, I still couldn't get a good look at the guy, but I knew there was something different to this 'Reptile'.

"Hold on, I'll try and get you out of this somehow" I said as I looked around the corner and tried to get a better idea of where all the remaining bandits were, but most were hidden by the trees, so seeing them was another thing altogether.

I stood there behind cover as I tried to think of some different approaches, there was only three that really seemed to stand out. I could either try to flush them out with a shot from my grenade launcher, try and sneak around and take them out one by one, or try to burn them out instead, but I shook my head of the third option, I didn't really want to risk starting a forest fire.

"Ah screw it, I'll see if I can sneak around, if that doesn't work, well guess I'll wing it..." I thought to myself. Carefully made my way around, the bandits seemingly preoccupied at this point of firing on the soldier rather than myself, I suppose it was a good thing and a bad thing at the same time considering that I promised myself to help him.

I fitted the silencer to my rifle and hid behind a fallen tree as I peeked over, seeing the bandits all hidden behind trees and shrubs, bows out and firing on the remaining soldier. I decided to use a stealth maneuver that I had seen in a game I played once. I held my hand to the tree and knocked on it as a bandit heard it.

"I heard something, I'm gonna take a look" he said as I heard the sounds of the bandit approaching. "Not yet, not yet..." I thought, trying to time it right. Then just as he approached the tree and started to look over it, I quickly reached out and grabbed him, throwing him over and knocking him out with a punch.

"One down..." I whispered as I looked over again, four left to take out. I walked quietly around and hid around the side of the tree a bandit had his back to. I waited and then grabbed him in a sleeper hold, he tried to warn the others, but I kept a firm grip as he stopped moving as I laid him on the ground.

"Three left, now I just got to-" I began to say when I heard one of the bandits.

"Over there! Get him!" One of the shouted.

"Damn, so much for the stealthy approach..." I cursed as I dived behind a log, evading a wave of arrows coming at me. I pondered for a moment between whether to kill them or just to knock them out cold. The rest I had used non lethal means besides the leader in which he fell on his own Axe anyways so it wasn't like I killed him...okay maybe I did but that was beside the point.

I peeked over to try and get an idea of where the rest were, but an arrow hit the log, causing me to dive back down. It was three guys with arrows against one, so it left not much room to get a shot in, but just then I heard sounds of growling and the bandits either shouting or screaming in pain. Then after a few moments...there was nothing.

Puzzled, I decided to look over and saw they had gone down, one had his neck snapped, another had his throat cut and the last one had a rather large gash near his heart, most likely killing him. "Jesus, what the hell could have done-" I began to say when I heard a rustle behind me, I froze and went for my Desert Eagles.

Whipping around, I looked around, but there was nothing, maybe I was just hearing things... I put my guns away and went to turn around to go check up on this 'Reptile', but all I was met with was a scaled green fist before I blacked out.

I came to after a while and groaned as I sat up, I was in what seemed to be a cold dark room, bricked in and metal bars in front of me. It didn't take a genius to figure out where I was: I was in a dungeon.

Just then a lot of clanging was heard as a soldier walked down the stairs, walking a ways before he stopped in front of my cell and looked in. "I see you are awake" the soldier said as he looked at my clothing in some curiosity.

"Where am I?" was the only question I really wanted to know the answer to at the moment.

"You are in the Castle Riverstone dungeons" he simply replied as he went to check something.

"Castle Riverstone..." I thought, I had finally made it there, sure the means weren't exactly were the way I would have liked them, but I had made it here in any case. "Can I ask why I am in a dungeon?" I asked the soldier when he came back.

"Precautions, you must understand that things aren't that calm around here, it's just until we can evaluate if you are a threat to the Kingdom of Aktes" he explained to me.

"A threat, right..." I thought for a moment before a thought came to me.

"Reptile!" I exclaimed. "Oh god, I forgot about Reptile!" I said, thinking the worst of what could have happened to him.

"Are you referring to Sir Reptile?" the soldier asked.

"Yes! Is he alright? Is he hurt, oh man I'm gonna be in so much trouble if anything has happened to him..." I said as I stood up and started to frantically pace back and forth in my cell.

"Do not worry yourself, Sir Reptile is perfectly safe" the soldier said as I suddenly stopped pacing, letting out a sigh of relief. Just then another soldier came down and approached the first one before he looked at me.

"How is our guest?" the seconds soldier asked.

"He is awake and seems to be fine" the first one replied.

"Good, I will go and inform the King of this" the second one said before he walked back up the stairs.

Moments went by as I sat there, thinking of what exactly happened to me that I ended up here, when the second soldier came back down and took some keys before opening the cell door and looking at me. "King Kyle would like to see you, if you would come with me please"

the soldier asked.

I was not one to question it as I nodded and stood up as I followed the soldier out and the first soldier got behind me as they lead me up and through the castle towards the throne room of the castle.

Soon enough, we had reached the throne room where they lead me inside. Sitting on the throne was a man that looked quite young, maybe 20's to early 30's but I could not tell for sure. He seemed to look at me for a bit before he said "So you are the one who saved Reptile? I have heard many things about you from Lord Groul in Couvrant. You have my gratitude for saving him from those dukes, I had suspected that something like this would have happened eventually, it was good you arrived when you did"

"I're welcome?" I said a little confusingly as he laughed a bit.

"Do not worry yourself, I trust you enough since you did such a great service for one of my allies, although I must apologise for Reptile's actions, you must understand that things have been somewhat unsettled in recent times" he said as he stood up.

"But enough about that, I haven't even introduced myself, I am King Kyle Primor" he said before he sat down again "And may I ask who our mysterious guest is?" he added, obviously meaning to ask my name.

"Draco Carvhall sir, it is an honour to make your acquaintance" I said kneeling, wanting to be respective towards Kyle.

"The honour is all mine Draco, if you would have me call you that?" Kyle asked.

"Yes, you may call me that if you wish, I am fine with it"

"Thank you, now I'm sure you must have some questions that you would want to ask" he added as he settled himself on his throne again.

"Well...I suppose first things first...where am I exactly?" I asked, just wanting confirmation on what the soldier had said.

"You are in Castle Riverstone in the Kingdom of Aktes, and as King, I rule it, like my father did before me and his father as well, though in all honesty things weren't as calm back in those days but that's another story" Kyle said with a nod.

"Right well next off...what was the deal with those bandits back there?" I asked next, deciding I should find out exactly what I got myself into.

"They were the remains of a group of bandits that had been terrorizing the kingdom for some time, we had tried to quell them before, but the plan failed. We tried again some time later and destroyed most of them but we were careless to think we had wiped them all out" Kyle said as he took a breath before continuing. "The last members and their leader ambushed the guarded caravan as you saw and wiped out most of our unit sent to guard it, as you might have guessed, Reptile was the only survivor, thanks to you, he was not lost as well."

"So my curiosity ended up helping the place I was about to visit" I thought for a moment before focusing back. "Well I suppose it's a good thing that I did, Groul seems to hold Reptile in high regards" I noted.

"Indeed, Reptile and Loud Groul are best friends, and also being the Lord of Couvrant makes him a powerful ally to Aktes" Kyle replied as he looked at me more directly. "Well I suppose that now that the more important topics have been covered, what may I ask brings you to my Kingdom then?" Kyle asked in curiosity.

"I have merely come here to train myself, in body and mind, broaden my horizons, see new sights, I am very much an adventurer and explorer as well as being skilled in various forms of combat" I told him, I suppose I would need to tell him about my 'origins' soon enough if Groul hadn't already sent such word. I would only hope that Groul trusted me enough to let me tell the story myself, as it would most likely serve to reduce confusion.

"Yes Groul seemed to say as such from a message he sent to us sometime before you awoke, what do you hope to gain from it?" Kyle inquired.

"Just personal life experience to make use of in the future" I explained as I nodded in assurance.

"Fair enough, I commend you for having such a simple kind of life" Kyle said to me.

"Heh not as laidback as you might think, I have had my fair share of hardships since I started adventuring" I noted, holding back a laugh.

"Aye, I can see what you mean, bandits, wildlife, the elements, there would seem to be many obstacles in the kind of life you lead" Kyle nodded in agreement.

"Everyone has obstacles in life, some more than others, it's all a matter of how you choose to deal with them"

"Well said, you seem to know what you want out of life" Kyle said with a small laugh.

"Yes and no, I know what I want to do with my life, but there's always that possibility that something may happen to change that, but for now, yes I do have a good idea of what I want" I said with a nod.

"Yes, well in any case, I suppose you would want to meet the person you saved, yes?" Kyle asked me.

"Well I heard a few stories about Reptile from Groul, I would be interested to meet him personally" I replied, my mind having a few thoughts running through it about what this 'Reptile' exactly was like.

"Well you'll find out soon enough" Kyle said, and almost like it on queue the throne doors opened. I turned around and my eyes went slightly wide to see a anthropomorphic reptile standing there dressed in a warrior's uniform of sorts as he walked up past me slightly before kneeling.

"King Kyle, I finished checking up on the status of bandit clan" the reptilian said as Kyle nodded.

"Yes Reptile, and what do you have to report?" he asked.

"We have found no trace of any more bandits or suspicious activity since what happened yesterday, it would seem that the bandits that were killed or captured were the last of them" the reptilian said, confirming that the person was indeed Reptile.

"Excellent, and speaking of which..." Kyle said before gesturing to me, "Reptile, I would like you to meet Draco Carvhall, he is an adventurer that has come to hone his skills here"

"Yes, the boy who saved me, I thank you for what you did, I am in your debt" Reptile said as he walked over and held out a hand, which I returned.

"It's no problem, it's the least I could do, considering that you are a friend of Groul" I said as I shook his hand, noticing the reptilian had a very firm grip.

"Ah yes, Groul, I heard that you saved him from those two dukes Dugan and Khalagh. I assumed that it was only a matter of time that they try to overthrow him, but I am thankful that you came when you did, otherwise I could only imagine what could have transpired, and again I thank you"

"As I said before, it's no problem, I try to help wherever I can" I said with a slight smile and a thumbs up before Kyle stepped in afterwards.

"Well we are both very grateful for what you have done for both us and our allies, and therefore I have a proposition" he said as I turned back and looked at him.

"Yes your majesty?" I asked in some curiosity.

"Seeing as you are looking to hone your skills and we would appreciate any help you could offer, I would like to extend a invitation for you to train here" he said with a smile on his face.

I was a little taken back by this, me? Training here? Well it seemed like a good idea, I mean I could learn some more refined combat techniques and such but only one question seemed to stick out. Then, almost like if he knew what I was going to ask, Reptile added "And if it would be alright with your majesty, I would like to personally train him myself, I can see you show some great promise, I could make a great warrior out of you, I'm sure of it"

"R-really? You are willing to do that?" I asked, have shocked, half well...ecstatic.

"A great idea Reptile! Would you be willing to be personally trained by Reptile? I assure you, he is a skilled fighter, one of, if not our finest knight among our ranks" Kyle said, if not quite insistently.

"You humble me with such words Kyle" Reptile said, showing some signs of embarrassment which I couldn't help but chuckle to.

"I only speak the truth Reptile" Kyle said, hearing a small chuckle from him "So Draco, would you accept our offer?" he added, looking at me.

A chance to train with real knights, and a Reptilian warrior no less, it was an offer that was too good to pass up so I nodded "Yes your majesty, I would be honored by your invitation to train here"

Kyle nodded and stood up "Excellent! I shall see that we provide the best hospitality we can for you whilst you are here, tomorrow we shall start your training, if that is satisfactory with you?" Kyle asked.

"Yes your majesty" I said before I saw Kyle shake his head.

"Please, there is no need for formalities, any friend of Groul is a friend of Reptile and any friend of Reptile is a friend of mine, so you may just call me Kyle" Kyle said with a nod.

"Alright then Kyle, if that is your wish" I said as I bowed to him in respect.

"Very good, now Reptile, if you would be as so kind to show Draco to his room?" Kyle asked as he looked to Reptile.

"As you wish" Reptile said as he guided me out of the throne room as Kyle seated himself on the throne again.

Minutes later, we had arrived at a room as Reptile opened it for me. Inside was a room that was a little more fancy than the rooms back at the tavern back in Couvrant, which was fine with me. "Here you are, is there anything else I can do for you?" Reptile asked.

"Well I was curious,..I have seen many humans in this castle, but so far, you are the only well...non-human I have seen in the castle" I said in a bit of a questioning tone.

"Yes, there is an explanation for that, but I am sure that you need some time to settle yourself in a bit, come see me tomorrow, I will explain everything then" Reptile nodded as I looked at him slightly taken back.

"Everything? You trust me that much?" I asked him.

"Like Kyle said, any friend of Groul is a friend of mine, which also reminds me, I was told that you received a sword from him?" Reptile said in curiosity.

"Yes, I have it right here..." I said as I took it out, having received it back after being let out of the dungeon and handed it to him. Reptile took the blade and examined it before removing it from it's sheath, looking along the ebony blade.

"Amazing craftsmanship I must say, Groul must respect you as lot to provide you with a blade like this" Reptile said in some wonderment.

"I only did what I thought was right, it made me sick to my stomach of imagining either one of those dukes ruling such a place as Couvrant, it's one of the few places I have seen the common folk as happy as the noble folk" I explained to him.

"Yes, Groul has always tried to rule Couvrant fairly for all who lived there, everyone respects him as a Lord. Kyle has also been ruling over Aktes in a fair but firm manner" Reptile said as he handed the blade back to me.

"Yes, it was unfortunate that the dukes could not see the good in what he was doing" I nodded as I took the blade and rested it on a drawer next to the bed.

"A lot of men born in high status tend to always think that they have power over the lower folk, many could follow a good example from men like Groul and Kyle. But in any case, I shall leave you to settle yourself in, if you need anything at all, the castle staff are more than happy to help you" Reptile said as a final note before closing the door.

That night, I sat looking out the window at the rest of the castle and the city below. So much has happened in only a few days, not that I ever seemed to mind, it was good to be able to see so much, and tomorrow I would learn more when I started my training sessions with Reptile.

But in all the satisfaction of what has been happening, there was always that nagging thought in the back of my mind about them...the Order of Shadows. Although I know that their leader Dartanian was gone, many of the members had escaped, and I could only think that sooner or later, they would come looking for revenge, not to mention, a new world to plunder of hearts to help fund their goal for the ultimate power, Kingdom Hearts.

But for the moment I would enjoy my time here, if they decided to come here, so be it, but for now, this was a personal trip and I intend to make the most of it.