Prologue: The Hunter and his Disciples.
A yawn escapes my mouth as the cold morning air fill my lungs.
“Elisu look, Master just yawned. Just go back home and continue sleeping.; let the both of us handle this request.” Charlotte, my first disciple speaks with a grin on her face.
“It’s just a yawn. Let it go, Charlote.” I reply as I rub my eyes, the lamp in Charlotte’s hand as our only source of light.
“I wonder where that yawn came from. Is it from those vigorous activities Vena did last night with the barmaid?” she continues and starts to giggle.
This brat, I’ll inform Marian to make only three people’s worth of breakfast. Charlotte will just have to make do with our leftovers.
Elisu, my second disciple, who has been silent all this while, finally speaks in a monotonous tone, “Vena loses his virginity to a barmaid at the age of nineteen. Congratulations, Vena.”
Both my disciples’ starts clapping, with Charlotte laughing, her long blonde hair sways with her laughter.
Looks like Marian will only need to prepare two sets of breakfast. They can go eat twigs or something.
“Too loud. It’s still far before dawn arrives.” Elisu punches Charlotte softly on the shoulder.
Even though they are same in age, Elisu acts more mature compared to Charlotte.
After affirming that in my head, I ask them to quiet down before explaining to them about this emergency request. At that time, a roar can be heard inside the building. Amidst the three-storey inn, lies a demon. It broke at the dark of night, and slaughtered the people staying inside. The only survivors are the inn owner, who was at the main hall, and his maid, who was sleeping beside him.
“Our prey today is a demon, so make sure to use the enchanted bolts, not holy bolts.” I inform Elisu who begins to inspect the bolt in her crossbow and her quiver. She checks her crossbow once more to ensure that it is in top shape, its color the same as her black neck-length hair.
Just then, the owner of the inn and his maid returns. In his hand is a metal lamp with a lit candle inside. The maid is holding a small straw bag with unlighted candles inside, as I requested. Charlotte walks towards them and takes the small straw bag with her left hand, her right still holding onto our own metal lamp. She then begins to talk with the owner, most likely trivial stuff.
I walk towards the wooden front door and push it open in one move.
It’s too dark to see anything in front.
Since it was night, the owner extinguished all of the lamps from the stairs to the rooms. The candles inside the lamps in the main hall have been burnt out, leaving the place in complete darkness.
It takes my eyes less than a minute to adjust to the darkness. In front is the unoccupied reception desk. There are stairs on the left and right heading to the first floor. Behind the reception desk are two entrance; one leads to rooms on the ground floor, and the other to the kitchen area.
Someone pulls the ends on my cloak. I turn around to see Elisu looking at me with her black crossbow in her left hand.
“Vena, I need to go change the string on my crossbow.” she states as she shows me her crossbow. I notice that the string on her crossbow looks like it could snap at any time.
I hit her on the head softly, “Do proper maintenance on your crossbow after every job is done.”
Elisu merely nods and walks back to the front lawn.
I’d take some time before Elisu is ready.
“Charlotte! We’re scouting ahead!” I shout to my first disciple, who merely waves her hand which is holding the metal lamp.
I walk into the inn first as Charlotte lights a candle beside Elisu. Once inside, I close my eyes and focus, trying to pick up any sound of movements inside the inn. As described by the owner, this inn is quite large, with 10 rooms on each floor, five on each side. The ground floor also has 10 rooms. There are growling sounds coming from the upper floor. The area behind the reception desk seems quiet.
“Master, I have arrived!” Charlotte shouts as she walks into the inn. The demon growls even louder.
“Keep your voice down! And light me a candle.”
Charlotte puts the lamp down on the wooden floor and starts to light a candle using the lamp. With the aid of the lamp I can now see the interior more clearly. There are huge demonic footprints on the wooden floor which leads to both the kitchen and ground floor rooms.
This is bad, really bad.
“Here you go Master. As requested, one lighted candle.” Charlotte hands me a candle, grinning as if it is a huge achievement to light a candle.
“Light up the lamps on the ground floor. Don’t go anywhere beyond the reception desk.” I command her.
Charlotte who is usually noisy, shuts her mouth and goes along with the task I gave her. I walk towards the staircase on the left side with the candle in my hand. There are footprints of the demon smeared in blood as it made its way down to the back area behind the reception desk. I walk towards the right staircase. It looks like the demon did not touch these steps.
I walk towards the reception desk and focus on my hearing again. The sound of the demon growling can be heard from the right side.
Is it too much for them to handle?
“Master, the candles have been replaced as requested.” Charlotte states as she stops behind me. Footsteps can be heard from the entrance; Elisu has finished with her crossbow.
Guess it’s time for them to grow up.
“Charlotte, Elisu,” I give them my orders, “head up using the right staircase. Relight the lamps as you check each of the rooms. The demon is most likely in one of the rooms on the right, so take caution. Of course check all the rooms.”
“Eh? Does this mean……” Charlotte asks.
“If you meet the demon before I arrive, take care of it. I trust my two disciples will have no problem against one demon, right?”
Charlotte face lights up after hearing what I just said. Even Elisu who usually has a face as cold as ice, is now showing a perplex expression. Charlotte grabs hold of Elisu’s hand and heads towards the staircase, “Don’t worry Master! You can count on us!”
“No matter what you hear, do not come down!” I warn them, “Just focus on the task at hand, alright?”
The smile on Charlotte’s face disappears. She nods and moves up the steps with Elisu. At least Charlotte knows how to behave seriously during the job. Charlotte and Elisu are both 15 years of age.
Is it too early to let them face a demon without me? Well, I was fourteen when I faced my first demon alone without any aid from Master Minerva. And before that…
…… I guess they’ll do fine. They won’t die at least.
I look towards the left staircase with demon footprints.
The demon came in from the 1st or 2nd floor, murdered the humans and walked down to the ground floor using the left staircase. It then made its way to the kitchen, followed by the rooms on the ground floor.
This can all be seen by looking at the demon’s footprints. However, there are no footprints heading out of the ground floor area. There are no footprints showing that the demon made its wake back up.
The stairs on the right is untouched and the left stairs only shows footprints walking down, not up. So why is there growling sounds coming from the top floor?
I hope that I am wrong……but I believe that there are two demons.
If I am to guess, the first demon entered from one of the left rooms on the 1st floor while the second demon entered from one of the right rooms. This allowed them to slaughter all the humans on the 1st floor while preventing people on the 2nd floor from escaping.
The demon on the left side must be a fast eater, for it killed all the humans in the left rooms on both floors. After that, it made its way down to the ground floor, found nothing in the kitchen, and made its way to the other entrance.
That means there is a demon in one of the rooms in the 2nd floor right side that Charlotte and Elise will encounter……and another demon on the same floor as me.
I look at the candle in my left hand. It has burnt itself halfway, meaning there is not much time left until I am left in the dark. I place the candle on the reception desk and blow it out. The ground floor is still lit with the lamps behind me. In front of me is complete darkness, except for the moonlight shining in from the window at the end of the entrance.
Looks like I’ll need to ask the inn owner for a larger reward once we are done. There are two demons in here.
I walk pass the reception desk and head towards the rooms at the ground floor. Just as I take my 10th step, the wooden floor makes a *creak* sound due to a loose wooden plank. I stop in my tracks and brace myself for the worst case scenario. 10 seconds……20 seconds……thankfully, the demon didn’t jump out and attack me. Thinking that the worse has passed, I continue forward.
Just then, a figure exits from the last room; it’s the demon. The demon features resemble a human. It is about one and a half times taller than me and a hunched back. Its hands are so long that they can touch the floor. Its fingers are as long as a human, but it has claws instead of nails. Now that I think about it, the demon looks more like a werewolf instead of a human, since it has a head that resembles a wolf.
Though the demon notices me, it does not attack. Instead, it drags out the body of a half-eaten man, and continues to eat in front of me.
What an arrogant demon…
Not like I am complaining; I’m thankful that it is not aggressive. Taking advantage of the situation, I continue to observe the demon, mainly its longer-than-normal hands.
What troublesome hands you got there……
I grab the sword resting on my back with my right hand and unsheathe it. It’s a sword with no special decorations at its surface. The handle is a normal ‘T’ with a silver long double edge blade. The hilt is long enough to be held with both hands if the situation is needed.
I look at my left hand. There is a marking at the top of my hand, a marking of no meaning or significance. I raise my left hand in front of me and chant, “Come forth, Perdo.”
The marking glows and a black curve-dagger appears in my left hand. The pommel of the dagger is linked to a black chain, where the chain entangles itself around the leather bracer on my left arm, the end of the chain fusing into my arm.
Though I have drawn out my weapons, the demon merely growls at me and continues to enjoy its meal. This demon is looking down on me.
My sword, a cursed weapon, is called Lacero. It was given to me by my Vampire Master when I told her I wanted to become a Demon Hunter; a token for hanging out with her all those years.
The black dagger, also a cursed weapon, is called Pedro. It was given to me by a half-demon who I tried to kill…but ended with me being on the verge of death. He let me live and ‘placed’ the dagger inside me, as commemoration of our friendship.
A vampire trained me to survive against demons until I was 14 years of age. I am alive now because a half-demon wants me to be his friend.
What an amusing past I have.
I straighten myself and speak my quote of strength:
My name is Vena from ‘Venator’, meaning Hunter.
Lacero is to shatter, Perdo is to ruin.
With shatter and ruin in my hands, I shall eliminate the demon in front of me.
For I am Vena, the Imm-……the Demon Hunter.
With that, I dash forward, towards the narrow hallway.
In front of me is the demon; on my left and right are the rooms with their doors broken. Since the demon isn’t looking at me (It seems that it’s really enjoying its meal), I throw the dagger Perdo towards the demon. Perdo travels towards the demon, the chain attached to it buzzes in the air.
The demon turns to face me due to the buzzing sound. Perdo flies past the demon’s head. Since the chain is connected to my left hand, I grab hold of it and pull it to my right. As if Perdo understands me, it entangles itself around the neck of the demon. The chain begins to retreat back to my left hand, dragging the demon towards me.
The demon lets out a roar at it tries to break free from the chain around its neck. However, the chain attached to Perdo was made with the idea holding a ‘Demon King’ in place; a mere werewolf has no chance of breaking it. While Perdo drags the werewolf towards me, I take aim with the sword in my right hand. In a swift move, I cut through the werewolf left hand with Lacero. The werewolf lets out a roar as its left hand falls to the ground. Immediately, I dash backwards; narrowly avoiding the werewolf’s right hand swipe.
Suddenly, the werewolf uses its remaining hand to grab the chain in front of it and begins to pull the chain. I stagger forward as the demon attempts to pull me forward with my own chain. To prevent this, I lower my center of gravity by crouching down slightly, allowing myself to stay in place for a few seconds. With that, I turn around and place the chain across my right shoulder, dropping Lacero on the floor at the same time. Using my right shoulder as a lever, I drag the chain downwards with both my hands as I attempt to lift the werewolf into the air.
What am I thinking…I don’t possess that kind of strength!
As expected, I fail to complete the stunt. I lose my balance and drop with one knee on the ground, as if I am proposing to someone. Realizing that I have failed, Perdo untangles itself from the neck of the werewolf and retreats back to my left hand. The werewolf lets out a triumph howl; as if it has won. I can feel the werewolf from behind as it dashes towards me. I pick up Lacero with my right hand and quickly turn around. The werewolf hand is already in front of my face; there is no way I can avoid that.
Suddenly the ceiling above the werewolf gives way. From above, comes the second demon. A simple description: The second demon is huge, three times wider than a human. Imagine that ‘heavy’ demon falling from the second floor, landing right on the werewolf. The result is obvious to everyone: the werewolf is crushed by the weight of the second demon and dies on the spot.
On top of the second demon is my first disciple, Charlotte. She notices me, “Master! What are you doing there! I could have crushed you.”
She jumps down from the second demon and lands in front of me; her blonde hair slightly disheveled. She is wearing her standard demon-hunting gear; a pair of gauntlets and armor boots (the leg part of a knight’s armor). Since her strength surpasses a normal human, she usually beats a demon using brute force.
She turns around and notices the claw of the werewolf jutting out from the bottom of the second demon. She looks at me with a grin on her face.
“Master, did I just save your life?” Charlotte asks in a sarcastic tone.
Feeling irritated, I whack the top of her head with the hilt of Lacero, creating a blut *thud* sound.
“That’s what you get for acting all high and mighty in front of your Master.” I reply as I pull her right ear with my left hand, dragging her away from the two demons.
There is a reason why I am doing this to Charlotte. No, it is not that I am punishing her for speaking sarcastically to me. The real reason is to get her out of the attack range of the second demon. Though she beat the second demon to pulp, she did not check whether the second demon is dead, a grave mistake.
Just to prove my point, the second demon stands up and looks at me with a disfigured face, thanks to Charlotte continuous beatings. Just then, an enchanted bolt flies past me and buries itself deep into the demon front left shoulder. It explodes the next second, sending chunks of demon flesh into the air. Another enchanted bolt pierces the stomach of the demon. Just as the second bolt explodes, a third bolt lands on the demon’s front right shoulder. The fourth bolt explodes at the chest of the demon before it finally falls backwards, shaking the entire inn.
“As always, I have to clean up after your mess.” Elisu speaks as she walks down from the stairs, her black crossbow resting on heft right shoulder.
“Charlotte knows how to fight on par with a demon. However due to her arrogant attitude, she doesn’t check whether the demon is dead on not.” Elisu lets out a sigh as she stands behind Charlotte, “seriously……this is why Charlotte ‘kill count’ will never surpass mine.”
Before Charlotte and Elisu can begin their argument, I hit both their head with the hilt of Lacero.
“That is why the both of you are still my disciples.” I speak as I walk towards the second demon.
“A demon of this Size will not die with some simple ‘punch with kick’ or enchanted bolts.”
As if to prove my point, I stab Perdo at the forehead of the demon. The demon lets out a roar. Since both its hands were destroyed by Elisu’s purified bolts, it can do nothing to push me back. Next, I stab Lacero at the chest of the demon, towards the area where I think its heart should be located.
“Perdo, ruin this soul. Lacero, drink to your heart’s content.” I whisper softly, making sure that Charlotte and Elisu couldn’t hear me.
Immediately, the demon screams even louder as it feels itself being ‘corrupted’ by Perdo while its blood is being ‘drained’ by Lacero.
After about 15 seconds, the demon goes quiet, no longer moving.
“And that is how you make sure a demon is really dead.” I speak as I withdraw my weapons from the demon and walk back towards both my disciples. They merely stare at me with a puzzled face. I place Lacero back into its scabbard as Perdo disappears from my left hand, along with the chains.
“Alright. Let us head back. I want to grab a wink before Marian’s breakfast is ready.” I pat on both their shoulders as I walk pass them. I can hear footsteps following me from behind.
“But first, I’ll need to grab two times the rewards amount from the inn owner, since there were two demons.”
Just another job for a Demon Hunter.