Artesius held onto the slim hope of rescue from the strange boy like it was a lifeline. The humans who ran the menagerie saw him as little more than an animal – a valuable animal, sure, but an animal.

He tried reasoning with them. He could speak their language. He could read and write. These were not the acts of an animal; not something unintelligent beings could reproduce. They ignored his attempts however and forced their will on him with whips and harnesses.

Now he was in the stall that they had brought him to, his arms and head strapped down to a low table. His ankles, all four of them, were secured as well. He looked up to see the leader of them holding a metal file in his hand. Arteisus whimpered softly as he closed his eyes. Then pain erupted as the man began to file his horns – first one then the other.

The vibrations were bad enough to make his head ache but his horns were coated in living tissue. As it was filed away, the pain was almost too much to bear. Tears flowed from his eyes as the man continued.

When he was finished, Artesius’s horns were tipped in sharp points – probably to appear more threatening to the visitors – and the man had collected a small bowl of the filings. The humans unstrapped him then and he sank to the floor. He could only hope the boy came soon.