???: ‘You have to be gracious in order to forgive and help others.’
???: ‘Go help those in need! Don’t be afraid of failure, Gracious Dog.’
The voice faded away, while the puppy lying on grassland started stretching. It slowly sat up, looking around with its sleepy puppy eyes. Gracious Dog stumbled around, learning about this strange world.
It did not know where it should be going, nor did he understand why he was born in this world. The only recurring thought in his mind was its natural ability— helping people resolve their problems and difficulties. For this, it journeyed around, looking for those who needed its help.
One day as it was passing by a small log cabin, it caught a glimpse of numerous fire elves and slimes playing together. Worrying that they might burn the cabin, it promptly helped drive the elves away...
The Gracious Dog: ‘What’re you doing here? Stay away from that cottage!’
Blazing Fire Elf: Ho... Horrible monster! Run everyone!
The Gracious Dog: ‘The cottage is protected now!’
Just as Gracious Dog was feeling pleased with itself for “saving” the wooden cabin from destruction, the fire elves and slimes spouted sparks out of fear. A few sparks were blown towards to the cabin, and with that, a uncontrollable roaring fire was started. In the blink of an eye, the cabin was completely ablaze.
Gracious Dog stood gaping at the burning cabin, for it never expected to make things worse. Just then, an old couple was running towards the cabin from afar while shouting...
Old Man: Oh my... Our house... What happened...?
Old Lady: Who burnt our house down? Is this truly will of Heaven?
The old couple could only watch fire slowly engulf their house where they have lived for years. Unable to do anything, they collapsed on the ground and wept bitterly. Gracious Dog, which had indirectly caused the blaze, did not think of getting water to put out the fire until that moment...
When Gracious Dog returned with water, the wooden cottage was already burnt to ashes. It did not even have the courage to apologize to the old couple and instead, it discreetly walked away, as if it was never there.
After it left the forest, Gracious Dog arrived at a huge town where it found a lot of people in need. At first, everyone loved to look for its help, but soon they realized that the more Gracious Dog devoted to help, the worse the things would become... Eventually, all the people developed a perplexing fear towards Gracious Dog.
It had been a while since they left home. Nello decided to bring Gracious Dog back to his hometown. On the way there, they passed by an antique bookstore, and heard the staff chat among themselves about a fascinating story...
Adventure Team Captain: I heard that we can find an ancient manuscript about “Magic Lamp” here. We must find it quickly; or else it would fall into someone else's hand.
Nello: ‘Magic Lamp? What in the world is that?’
Bookstore Owner: Are you also here to find the ancient manuscript of “Magic Lamp”? I said already there’s no such thing here!
Bookstore Staff: Get out if you’re not buying books! Don’t stay and get in my way!
Gracious Dog: ‘What’re you doing? I won’t let anyone hurt Nello!’
Gracious Dog: ‘Huh! Don’t you dare to bully Nello again!’
Nello: Well... Actually I am looking for books about myths all around the world...
Bookstore Owner: I am so sorry for accusing you before I learnt the whole truth?
Nello: May I ask what is “Magic Lamp”?
Bookstore Owner: It was said that there is a special magic lamp that can grant three wishes to its master.
Bookstore Owner: Several adventurers came to my shop and cause havoc just to find the manuscript about this magic lamp...
Bookstore Owner: But the fact is I really don’t have it here! It’s really frustrating to see people to make a mess and then just waltz off.
Suddenly, something glittering caught the Gracious Dog’s eyes. Wasn’t the magic lamp right here in the bookstore? Without a second thought, it eagerly launched itself towards the magic lamp using the bookshelves as a springboard. The bookshelves tumbled down like dominoes. Gracious Dog held the flashing lamp tight, waiting for compliments from Nello and the shop owner.
Nello: Oh... That is not the “Magic Lamp” but a “Flashlight”!
Bookstore Owner: ...Get out of here!
The two were kicked out of the bookstore, which now looked like it had just suffered an earthquake. Nello kept saying “Sorry!”, while Gracious Dog, on the other hand, said to itself: next time I can surely help.
Nello and Gracious Dog continued their journey home. Nello was very excited; Gracious Dog, at his side, was also delighted, for it was almost halfway to the hometown that Nello often talked about. Suddenly, they came to a fork in the road. On the road sign it marked one way a shortcut towards their destination. Gracious Dog hoped that Nello could get back home soon, so without hesitation it took the shortcut covered in shadow.
Nello: Don’t risk it! The other path is safer!
Yet, Gracious Dog seemed unable to hear what he said. Soon, a gang of werewolves darted towards them in every direction, brandishing their weapons at Nello and Gracious Dog...
Nello: Oh no, your attempts to help are futile again...
Werewolf Bandits: Leave your bag to us if you want to live!
Nello: Inside my bag are everything I have worked for. Even if I die, I would not hand it over
Head of Werewolf Bandits: Hmpf! You want to do this the hard way, huh?
Gracious Dog: ‘No one can hurt Nello when I am here!’
Head of Werewolf Bandits: This guy is surprisingly tough!
Deputy of Werewolf Bandits: Boss, we better retreat...
Gracious Dog’s face expressed its sincere apology; Nello stroked its head to show his forgiveness. Just then, he noticed a scroll left behind by the bandits. He opened it and found that it was an ancient map, but a little different to all other maps. All the markings on it pointed to a place where almost no one had been to.
Nello: ‘Why is the map's key so weird...?’
Brow furrowed in thought, Nello puzzled over what kind of map this could be...
Nello: According to this map, there’s a mysterious cave nearby...
Nello: Anyway, since it won’t alter our route back home too much, let’s take a detour then!
By chance, Nello acquired a strange map from the werewolf bandits. He believed that it might record locations of treasures yet undiscovered, or possibly where the treasures stolen by the werewolf bandits were hidden. In order to get to the bottom of it, Nello decided to follow instructions on the “ treasure map” and advanced towards the cave.
Holding a torch in his hand, Nello and Gracious Dog carefully advanced into the gloomy move. They had been walking for a long time, yet they saw nothing except an endless rocky wall. Nello was disappointed, for it seemed that this was no more than an ordinary map. When he leaned against the wall, he suddenly found that it was studded with countless gemstones. As Nello attempted to scoop them out from the wall, they heard an eerie footstep sound approaching from behind...
Gemstone Cave Guard: Don’t you dare to steal our gemstones, you thief!
Nello: Sorry! I didn’t know these gems belong to you!
Gracious Dog: ‘I’ll help you get the gems!’
Nello: Grace, they don’t belong to us!
Gemstone Cave Guard: No one can take away the gemstones here!
It took all their efforts to break through. Nello took the gemstones in Gracious Dog’s mouth back to the cave, and then dashed back out to the forest. They did not dare stop until they heard no one’s footsteps except their own.
Nello and Gracious Dog looked into each other’s eyes and laughed. To the duo, this nerve-racking experience was the perfect end to their round-the-world trip. As they walked out of the forest, Nello’s hometown came into view. The villagers gathered together to welcome him. Nello embraced his grandmother, then returned to their cozy home together.
After bandaging his wounds, Nello buried himself in work, jotting down everything he saw and encountered in this journey; Gracious Dog, on the other hand, quietly lay beside him.
Nello: Next time, I shall follow this “treasure map” onto an adventure...
Suddenly he heard a bark; Gracious Dog wagged its tail and gazed fixedly at him as if it was saying, “I am going to help you!”. Nello chuckled, then softly stroke its head and said...
Nello: Thank you, Grace, but... it would be better if I just relied on myself.