Joachim nodded. "I have."
This was the first place he'd felt immediately welcome here, even though the Nekonians themselves had been courteous enough to a Human with plenty of money and a good command of the language. Wasn't about them, really. He just happened to have spent months fighting in a rebellion against power-hungry Nekojin, and was not entirely on board with being surrounded by them again.
Here was good, though. Here was mainly for la Gente, and few in numbers as they were... Joachim got on fine with them. Also, they let him board his mount in addition to himself, which made a difference. Paco tended to make people a little nervous the way a very large dog will which only has patience for its master.
He passed through the normal stable, holding the door for the others, and took them through to a rather ordinary-looking barn. It was unseasonably warm in the barn, however, and might have been kept heated with magic. Quite probably it was intended to hold breeding chocobo or other mounts which could not fit easily in normal stable stalls. A long tail emerged from a pile of straw, thick and covered in scales of mostly dark green and a sheen of blue, with the odd isolated scale of a deeper purple. Judging by its size, the owner of the tail might be twice the size of a Human man.
The straw in one corner of the room was stained with blood, and Joachim began forking it into a pile to dispose of it. He pointed toward the exposed tail. "Paco." He whistled twice, two low notes. The straw began to shift as the creature stirred.
From the straw next to the tail emerged a flat, pointed head with scales of the same color. It flicked out a long pink tongue with a fork on the end, and shambled on muscular legs with long, curved toes toward the tall halberdier. It was indeed at least twice Joachim's size, not counting the tail. Periodically it swiveled its head toward the Orc and the Nekojin, curiously testing the air in their direction with a couple of quick "hff" noises. Joachim made a couple of quick kiss noises to get the lizard's attention back on him.
Joachim dropped to one knee, running a hand over the lizard's head, checking its eyes, its nose, its scales. "Ah, Paco," he said, grinning like a little boy. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an ordinary chicken egg. The lizard started toward it, keenly interested, and Joachim held one hand palm out in a "stay" command.
"Ah, ah." The lizard halted. Joachim tossed the egg toward him, and Paco's flat, slit-like mouth opened to bare rows of backward-facing teeth like a snake. Paco snapped the egg out of the air, smashing it in his mouth and eating both gooey inside and crunchy shell. "Aw, g'boy," Joachim told him.
It was for all the world like watching a child with his favorite puppy, except that it was a grown man in chain mail with some kind of enormous trained lizard.