He could always read his first student like an open book.

Having been his sole caretaker since the boy was tiny; he knew his habits inside and out. For example, he stomped his left foot hard enough to make it tingle when he was angry, slept stretched out like one of the starfish that occasionally washed up on the shore, and ran his hands through his hair when he was upset or feeling guilty.

Thus, it was not very surprising when he meekly walked towards him from the open door of his office; fingers wrapped tightly in his own hair, staring at the smooth oak of the floor, his dragon Zmey hiding behind his legs.

"Atra esterni ono thelduin, Ebrithil"he mumbled towards his boots. Even when he was mildly worried, he remembered his manners. "Good afternoon, Esben. How can I help you this fine day?"

If it was possible, the boy paled further, barely managing to stutter out a few garbled syllables. Eragon took a breath, smiled slightly, and knelt to the small boy's height. He tapped under his chin with a finger, making the boy raise his head. "What's broken this time, huh?" he asked quietly, one eyebrow arching. The boy's tiny acknowledgement of "the bookshelf" was almost too quiet for him to hear.

How did he get to the bookshelf? It's easily twice his height! Pushing away that thought for later, he smiled back at his pupil.

"Well then, my little bear, we'd best see what we can do about that then!" With a laugh, he swooped forwards and threw the boy over his shoulder. Zmey chirruped in excitement, leaping onto his Rider's back, and Eragon jogged through the open door, tickling at the two laughing children.