Hello, deltakurumiru here with one of my longer fan fictions. I plan to update chapters at a bi-weekly status, so without further ado, i give you....
The Heart of the Hunters
Rated PG-15 for blood, gore, and the such.
Chapter 1: Aquaious, Scourge of Unity Village
I clanked a large fork and knife together, before saying with a large smile “Serve up that delicious food, Rain!” The silver cat with a blue smock smiled before placing a massive dish in front of me, completely with dragon head, king squid, goldenfish brew, and finally a large hunk of kirin cheese. I began plowing into the meal, grapping meat with the fork and shoving it into my mouth. With the knife, I cut chunks off of the cheese and smeared them onto the squid and dropped chunks into the brew. In the middle of the squid, after the dragon head, I heard some man running at me, yelling
“GIVE ME YOU MONEY AND FOOD!” Oh, and he had a scimitar. He held it to my back, and smiled evilly. “Listen. You are going to give me every valuable, coin, and piece of food you have, or else!”
“Alright. Here, have my fist” I said calmly, and before he could react, I smashed my fist into his right cheek, dislocating his jaw and breaking a few teeth. He fell down, out like a light. Rubbing my right knuckles, I muttered that I should really wear my gauntlets when eating, but I heard some yelling from down the cliff. “What now?” I sighed, and looked over the hill edge. I reached into my pocket, and pulled out a pair of binoculars. Through them I saw two girls being harassed by about ten thieves, with more in the surrounding woods. The girls had some supplies in boxes, and the robbers tried to make off with them. By the looks of it, a scuffle issued, judging by the two dead robbers and one of the girls having blood dripping from her forehead. The one with blood was on the ground limp, and the standing girl was tired. I could barely read her lips, though it was obvious she was saying help. “Rain….keep an eye on the camp” I said. Rain nodded, and went to gather the other cats to defend the small camp. I walked towards the center of the camp first, before I started running. I ran towards the edge of the cliff, and jumped.
“Listen, these supplies are for my mother’s inn. You can’t have them” panted the standing girl. The leader of the robbers, a man with a metal helm and a fur strap across his chest, smiled, and raised his sword.
“Sorry little girl, but this blade WILL strike you down!” scoffed the leader, but that’s when he heard me shout.
“Testament of a hunter!” I shouted, and rammed my fist into his face. The helmet bent to the force of my blow, and the leader went skidding into a tree. The rest of the robbers gasped at my strength, before drawing their own blades and ran at me. I drew a golden shield from my back and from it, I drew a triangular blade, completely gold, and the air shimmered around it. The robbers stopped, for they recognized the blade that I held. It was known as a legend killer. “Right. You know what this blade’s name is, don’t you. Meet, with you small lives, the infamous Golden Eclipse! Fear my power!” I said, and held the blade above my head. At the mention of its name, the blade was suddenly bathed it white fire, and the air began to heat. Knowing the legends about the Eclipse, the robbers fled, dragging the limb leader with them. Sheathing the golden blade, I smiled at the weak girl, and she fainted soon after. “Great” I muttered. Stacking the creates that they had, I found myself wanting to check on them.
The fainted girl was in a flowing kimono, with a form of corset right below her chest extending to her skirt bottom. The kimono itself was pale brown, with a black edge on the collar and the area of the sleeves when it hit her wrists. It stopped just at her knees, and had a white trim .The corset was a rusty red, and it extended the length of her skirt. Her feet were in red sandals and white socks. At her elbows, a pink sash extended from one arm to the other, nearly making sword fighting impossible with the broadsword she had. Her skin was pale, and after checking her ruby eyes, I found no cause of her fainting. A pink sash was wrapped around her waist, and a fox outline pin was attached to her right hip at the sash. A bell hung from it, and from the bell hung a pink tassel. Smaller bells and tassels hung from orange orbs that tied her brown hair into two ponytails. I put two of my fingers against her pale skin, and I could feel a heartbeat. “Well, at least she isn’t dead” I muttered. I began to feel the left side of her ribs, and that, however, was not the best choice. She woke suddenly, and quickly crawled away, surprised I that was feeling along her ribs.
“What is this? Is this how you take a reward for saving someone?” she demanded, and was very frightened.
“S-sorry. I was checking to see if you ribs were broken” I stammered, but then fell silent. Here I was, on my knees, with a girl completely scared out of her wits when she found me touching her. First time I ever stammered too. I tried to think of a way to get her to calm down, but nothing came to mind. She tried to stand, but fell back down, her right leg giving out underneath her. “Your leg’s broken. I can help, but you have to stay still.”
“Oh, and I should just let you? You might be with the robbers!”
“I saved you from them!”
The girl tried to stand, but she fell back down, this time making a small pained sound. “Who are you anyway?” she asked.
“My name is Halt. I’m a hunter, so there’s nothing to fear.” Her eyes widened at the mention of hunter.
“…alright, but please do it quickly. I need to get these supplies to my mother’s inn.” She extended her right leg out slowly. Kneeling next to her, I placed my hand on her shin. She gasped.
“Alright. I have some salve that should help, but you shouldn’t walk on it for a few days” I said in a calming voice. Removing a jar full of a green substance from my pocket, I smeared the contents onto her leg. She shivered from the touch. “Tell me, what’s your name?”
“I’m Sakuya. My adopted sister Pia is the one on the ground.”
I turned from her to check her sister’s status. She was breathing, but still out. Closing my eyes, I thought of what to do. It wasn’t an option to leave the two to their own devices. At the same time, the other might be worried about me. Turning to see Sakuya looking at me with a hopeful expression, I found myself undone. “Show me the way to your village, and I’ll carry your supplies.”
“Wait, really? Thank you!” thanked Sakuya with a large smile. I looked down and blushed. I was a real sucker for woman in trouble. Grapping the supplies under one arm, I managed to get Pia under my right. She was wearing a brown poncho that covered her entire body, so I couldn’t tell anything past that. She had long pink hair, but there were blue smears in the hair right above her ears. Kneeling down, I turned to Sakuya.
“Climb on my back, you are not walking with that bad leg.” Sakuya smiled, before she climbed onto my back. There, she draped her arms over my shoulders, and moved her legs so they gripped my waist. I blushed, and started walking down the path.
“You’re a Huntair, right?”
“Yes, actually. How did you tell?”
“You’re stronger than any sixteen year old I’ve met! Relax, I’m one too! By the way, what age do you consider yourself? Hunter age, or human age?”
“I consider myself a human with a VERY long lifespan and slow maturity. So sixteen. You?”
“Same! You’re pretty cool, where are you from?”
“Midgarde. I thought all Huntair are from there.”
“Sort of. Midgarde was where they originated, but they branched out everywhere. My village, Unity Village, is where I grew up. My mother and I often travel, so we’ve been all over the four continents. She always kept me near during those travels, but it’s only after Aquaious showed up that we stopped the travels. Now, my sister and I travel together to Vielstone in order to stock up on supplies. This is the first time that the bandits attacked us…”
“Hold on. You mentioned something called Aquaious. What is it, exactly?”
“He’s….our protector. He’s the elemental embodiment of water in the shape of a dragon…”
I could tell that she wasn’t telling me the whole story, but I left that subject alone. If she didn’t want to tell me everything, then she could. “Alright. It’s just I’ve hunted so many monsters, It’s rare to find one that helps humans, instead of killing them.”
“Really? In Unity Village, monsters and humans live in peace together. The monsters help defend us, and we give them warm homes and food in exchange. At least, until Aquaious appeared. He demanded food as tribute, and every year….one female sacrifice.”
I felt cold drops of water against my neck, and realized Sakuya was crying. “Last year…my friend Shara’s little sister Monica was sacrificed…” Sakuya said, through a pained and trembling voice. We were already in the forest, and were about half way through it. It was midday, and the sun was shining. “This year might be my family’s turn. I’m so worried.” This time, the tears were coming down faster. “He even kills the travelers coming to the village for rest. He hates all outsiders. Please, drop us off at the outskirts of town…I don’t want you to die…”
“Not an option” I said in a stern voice. She looked at my surprised.
“You can’t beat it! It’s lived for hundreds of years! It’s killed more than a hundred hunters! Its suicide!”
I turned to her and smiled. “I guessed that. It must know every strategy for every weapon ever used. Well, that means I have to use a weapon that it has never seen before. A weapon that I invented, and it has never been seen before. This might be a good test.”
“….Alright, but you can’t enter the village yet. Enter and do a heroic rescue for the sacrifice tomorrow. Whoever is chosen will be chained to a rock by the shore. At noon, he will raise from the water, and devour her.”
Reaching the gates, I kneeled down so that Sakuya can see if her leg was fixed. She smiled as she danced around, her leg holding fine. Placing the two crates down, I moved Pia from my arm onto my back, and hefted the crates once more. I was about to enter when a woman, about 45, came running and hugged Sakuya.
“My daughter! Why did you return?” she asked hurriedly.
“Mom…what do you mean?” asked Sakuya. Her mother looked down, and tears fell from her face.
“Please, come to the inn. We will speak more there.” Looking at me, Sakuya’s mother took the creates and Pia, before walking into the town, Sakuya following her. Sakuya turned to me, and mouthed be ready, before hurrying off.
Cracking my neck, I pulled out some brown leaves from my pocket, and crushed them. I tossed them into the wind, and waited. Ten minutes later, Boyd, my first hunting cat, ran to me, his eyes blood shot and crazy. Removing my weapon box from him, I set it on the ground near me. “Boyd, tell the others that I’m leaving the group for a while. About one month. Tell them to go to another continent while I do my own quest.”
“Master….you’re happy?” asked Boyd, and then he smiled. Nodding, the cat ran back to the camp, to tell the others my choice.
“Happy? No Boyd, I’m in love” I said softly. “I finally found something worth protecting. Not Pokke Village, but someone with a heart.” Reaching into the box, I pulled out a large coil of black steel, with a crimson blade at the center. It was ten feet in diameter, and the crimson blade was a foot and a half long. Removing my golden armor, I reached into the box, and pulled out four pieces of pitch black armor. I knew how much of a risk I was going to take the second I wore that armor. But I need to save this town…for Sakuya. For the first time in my life, I could hear my heart beat. Each pulse resounded in my ears, as if urging me to risk it all for this girl. I was happy, and I was ready for war. The chest clipped into place, and two black wings sprung from the back. The tasset gripped onto my waist like a vice, and several coils of black scales went around my waist. The leggings gripped my legs, and a single silver spike protruded from the toes. Right below the knee and to the outside of the legs were two smaller spikes. The gauntlets felt as if they could wield a mountain of power. Along the forearm were three spikes, in growing size from the wrist to the elbow. I looked at my hands. The end of each finger was sharp and in a point. Tightening them both into a fist, I punched a tree with a right hook. The tree cracked, and there was a clear crack running from where I punched to the top of the tree. Straightening my left hand, I plunged my hand in the crack. Pieces of wood flew from the opposite side I struck, and I pulled my hand free, shaking off the wood on the hand. Curling my fingers, I hide my box under some overgrowth by the village edge. A beautiful village, it was filled with flowers, as well as a multitude of plants and trees. Towards the northwest edge of the town was an immense tree, its trunk several times wider than my weapon box. I ran around the houses, staying well in the shadows. I passed a few townspeople, but they didn’t notice me. Reaching the tree, I started climbing it, reaching the top branches in about five minutes. It was big, but my armor causes my speed to increase. Reaching the top, I stood perfectly on the top of the trunk, which ended in the small spike. Facing the village, I felt a form of pride. If they were willing to have me, it would nice to move here with my cats. It would be a form of retirement. I hated the killing. Every day it was the same thing. You woke up, talked to the elder, and then killed a monster. Sure, life here might be dull. But, it was because of how hectic a hunt can get that I wanted to relax here. Grow crops, help the people with their problems, and maybe make life easier for the townspeople. That would be perfect. Looking at the sky, it suddenly became cloudy. “What?” I said out loud. Looking at the inn, I saw a procession leave. Two older people lead it, looking like the elders. Behind them, in chains, was Sakuya. She was in the middle, surrounded by the rest of the town.
It was too early. It was still the same day. Did Sakuya get the date wrong? That didn’t matter. What mattered was the dragon raising from the lake. “It’s time, then. Testament of the Hunter.”