Chapter 1: Job from an Acquaintance.
“Elisu look, Master is grumbling.” Charlotte whispers to Elisu’s ear loudly, as if she wants me to hear it. Bread crumbs can be seen escaping from her mouth as she speaks
“Yeah, who knew Vena is such a kid.” Elisu replies as she brushes off the bread crumbs on her cheeks, thanks to Charlotte. She swallows the bread in her mouth before she continues, “To think that he would punch the inn owner.”
Though I feel like hitting both my disciples on their head, I know what they say is the truth: I acted immaturely.
The reward stated by the inn owner for exterminating the demon is 10 silver coins. Since we took down two demons, I thought we would receive 20 silver coins in total. However, the owner didn’t give us a single coin. Instead, he told us to pay him back for the damage done towards his inn. Even including the 10 silver coins that we were suppose to receive (that’s right, he said the second demon doesn’t count), the owner says that we have to pay him another 40 silver coins as compensation for ‘wrecking’ his inn.
At that moment, I lost my cool. My right fist landed on his left cheek, followed by my left knee on his stomach. Charlotte decided to join in as well, landing a few punches here and there. Elisu stood where she was while looking at the opposite direction. We left a few seconds later, never once turning back.
“We took care of TWO demons! And he still had the audacity to ask for compensation?!! That man is a fool!!” I speak angrily as I rip the bread on my plate in half, chewing loudly.
“Now, now. Calm down, Vena. And Charlotte, don’t talk with your mouth full.” Marian speaks as she pats me on the back.
I turn and look at Marian. Her long brunette hair accompany with her smiling face immediately extinguishes the anger in my heart. I turn back to face my plate and continue to finish my breakfast.
“Though you didn’t get any reward out of this morning job, at least you helped in stopping the demons from rampaging in this town. You should be proud for what you did.” Marian speaks as she continues to eat the food on her plate.
As always, Marian looks like a true angel…
“Yeah! Elisu and I fought against one of the demons without Master’s help.” Charlotte begins to brag to Marian about this morning ‘hunt’. Elisu continues to eat her breakfast without any intention of joining the conversation.
As Charlotte continues to exaggerate the incident this morning, I begin to smile as I look at the three of them.
About 5 years ago, I came to settle down in this small town call Burg. With a population of merely 300, Burg is a town of no importance, located right next to the border of the Human Continent. I came to Burg when I was 14 years old, just when I left the protection of Master Minerva.
The currency used in the Human Continent are ‘Gold Coins’, ‘Silver Coins’, ‘Copper Coins’.
The exchange rates are as follows:
10 Copper Coins = 1 Silver Coin
100 Silver Coins = 1 Gold Coin
To purchase a simple house in Burg: 500 Gold Coins
To purchase a cup of ale in Burg: 5 Copper Coins
A simple dinner at a Traven in Burg: 7 Copper Coins
To have a ‘lady’ sleep with you for one night in Burg: Wait, I’m getting out of topic…
To summarize, everything in Burg is cheaper compared to the Capital, since Burg is located right next to the border of the Human Continent. No sane human would want to live right next to the Border.
And so, by working as a Demon Hunter for a about a year and a half, I managed to purchase my first simple house when I was 15.
Hmm? My reason for purchasing a house??
I guess the main reason why I wanted to have my own house as fast as possible, is because of Marian.
When I first came to Burg at the age of 14, I accidentally wandered into the ‘red-light-district’ located in Burg (Yes, it was accidental. I didn’t go there on purpose, honestly!). It was there that I saw 11 year old Marian, working as a slave in one of the ‘prostitute Traven’ (a place where you can have a meal, AND enjoy your night). She was still too young to ‘satisfy’ the customers, so she was in charge of doing menial tasks.
I was at that moment that I walked up to the lady boss of the ‘Tavern’ and told her that I wished to purchase Marian. The lady boss looked at me with bewildered eyes, but told me that it’ll cost me 50 Gold Coins. She also said that I have to purchase Marian before she reaches the age of 13, for that is the age where she can be sent out to ‘satisfy’ customers. To make things worse, I also wished to purchase a simple house at the same time of purchasing Marian. In other words, I had to earn 550 Gold Coins in 2 years time.
I immediately went along the task of collecting 550 Gold Coins, killing demons that wander into Burg, acting as escorts to protect supplies to be brought to the Border. I even went as far as hunting at the Border so that I can encounter more demons, and perhaps even stronger demons. The more demons I kill, the more reward I shall receive. The stronger the demon is, the higher the reward. Let us not forget about those Vampires: they pick up a high reward as well.
Of course, it was around that time where I got killed by the half-demon, and have Perdo placed in me. As much as I hate being indebt to a demon, I am grateful for owning Perdo. Just like Lacero, Perdo allowed me to perform feats beyond a normal human capability. I went around slaughtering demons with such vigor, that the soldiers at the Border begin calling me ‘The Immortal Hunter’, since I never fell, no matter how strong the demon I faced, or even if I stood alone against a swarm of demons.
In a way, the soldiers are not wrong, since I was swaying in the path of a Demon, Vampire, and Human at that time. Lacero ‘shatters’ my will as a Human, to pull me to the path of a Vampire. Perdo ‘ruins’ my soul and thinking, and drags me down the path of a Demon. But the belief and determination to save Marian from a life of slavery and prostitution kept me balanced on the path as a Human.
Killing a demon at the Border will earn you between 1-5 Silver Coins, though most of the time it’s 1 Silver Coin. You can imagine the number of demons I had to kill to earn 550 Gold Coins.
After about one and a half years, I was able to keep my sanity as a Human, along with 550 Gold Coins. So, at 15 years old, I bought a simple but sturdy house in Burg, while freeing the 12 year old Marian from being a slave.
As for Charlotte, she came knocking on my door about one year after I ‘purchased’ Marian. The 12 year old Charlotte was crying, her blonde hair smeared with mud while her torn clothing had a thick stench of blood. Knowing that I am ‘The Immortal Hunter’, she begged me to accept me as my disciple.
As for Elisu, I ‘found’ her trapped inside the ruins of a collapsed house a few months after accepting Charlotte as my disciple. The 12 year old Elisu was the only survivor of a village that was attacked by demons.
I smirk as I think back to the expression that these three girls made when I saved them a few year back. The crybaby Charlotte is now a sarcastic disciple that acts all high-and-mighty even to her Master. The ‘soulless’ Elisu is now…just ‘expressionless’ most of the time I guess? Marian, who once accepted her fate as a slave, is now cheerful and is becoming more pretty with every passing day. If Marian moves to the capital, I am sure that the nobles will travel far and wide, just to propose to her.
Well, as long as they live their life to the fullest…as their savior, I am happy.
Once I finish my breakfast, I stand up, “Alright. I’ll head to the Tavern to see if there is any task to undertake tonight.”
“No need to cover it, Master. We all know that you just want to meet the barmaid at the Tavern right?” Charlotte starts to laugh.
“Just don’t get her pregnant.” Elisu speaks in a monotonous voice.
“…..Vena, it’s no good to waste our coins.” Marian seems to be pouting.
It seems like they really have no faith in me…
“I’m just going to check out the available jobs, I swear!!”
After that, I tell Charlotte and Elisu to take a nap first, since they helped me with the morning hunt. Marian will go out to buy some cooking ingredients at the meantime. After lunch, the three of them will head out to do some random tasks around the town, to earn some side income, while it is my turn to take a nap. And around evening, we’ll hunt any demons around the vicinity of the town, our ‘main income’, while Marian prepares dinner. Night will be dinner, along with free time. That is the everyday life of the four of us in the town of Burg.
Three days have passed since my disciples and I took down the demons at the inn. As usual, I leave my house after breakfast and head towards to Tavern. The pathways in Burg are dusty during normal days and muddy after downpours. Needless to say, it makes traveling very irritating. A horse-cart would pass by, sending specks of dust into the air. That is why most people walk around the town with their mouth and nose covered by a piece of cloth.
Thankfully, it only takes me 5 minutes to reach the Tavern by foot. I push the two swinging doors aside and proceed into the Tavern. Since it is still morning, the Tavern only has a handful of customers. Some are drunken-bums from yesterday, sleeping off their hangover. Most are travelers or merchants stopping by to grab a meal before they continue on their journey. The person behind the counter, as always, is the brother of the owner. He takes the morning and afternoon shift, while the owner takes the evening and night shift.
He notices me and merely continues with the task in hand; he knows the reason for my visits every morning. I cut left and proceed towards the long rectangle-shaped board nailed onto the wall. On it, requests to exterminate demons, made by individuals, are located on the left side of the board. The right side is reserved for requests made by the Defenders to help hunt down demons at the Border.
Of course, simple and menial tasks requested by the townsfolk are placed beside the ‘General Store’ in Burg; Marian and my disciples would head there to earn some ‘side income’. As for the requests made by the Church or the Holy Knights, they are usually placed at ‘Cathedrals’ (at places with larger population) or the ‘Church Shelters’ (at places with smaller population).
Coming back to my situation, I am looking for a job to take this coming evening, when my left hand starts to vibrate. The marking on my left hand glows dimly under my leather glove. I turn around and look at the counter. A man, who was not there before, sits at one of the stools at the counter. He covers himself with a dark-blue cloak, his head hidden by the hood.
He is smiling, his eyes hidden behind the hood. In his hand is a cup of ale, while another cup rests on the counter next to him. I let out a sigh and walk towards the counter. Sitting next to the man, I grab the cup of ale in front of me and finish it in one go. Just when I put down the empty cup, the barkeep places another cup of ale in front of me. I accept and drink half of it in one go. The man next to me laughs softly.
“You better pace yourself, Vena. It’s too early to get drunk.” the man speaks in a voice almost similar to mine.
Damn bastard…still trying to imitate me…
I drink the remaining half of the ale; another full cup is place in front of me by the barkeep. I take a sip from my third cup and look at the man beside me; he drinks down half his cup in one go. Just then he passes a stack of silver coins to me; a total of 20 silver coins.
“I heard that a certain inn owner failed to pay you your deserved reward.” the man speaks in a soft voice, “Here you go, for the hard work of your disciples.”
“Milian, don’t tell me you -”
“Don’t worry; I did not hurt the inn owner. I merely made his coin pouch lighter. Besides, I am part-human. Even I know how to act like a human every now and then.”
Yeah, Milian is the half-demon that killed me a few years ago. He revived me and placed Perdo inside me. Since then, he would appear in front of me every now and then, just to chat. Frankly speaking, I find Milian as a mere acquaintance but he keeps insisting that we are friends, going as far as half-brothers. I got angry when he said that, thus Milian decided to stick with friends.
I accept the 20 silver coins and place them into my pouch, “So, what does the ‘rising-demon-lord’ want from a mere demon hunter like me?”
Milian laughs at my statement and pats my shoulder roughly. He finishes the ale in his first cup as the barkeep passes him a second cup.
“Don’t say something like that, Vena. I am just a mere half-demon, with no significant power or position in the Demon Continent.”
“Well, with all being said, I actually have a request for you.” Milian continues as he places his cup down and takes out something from his pouch.
He places 2 Gold coins in front of me, “I want you to save a girl.”
I look at the two Gold coins in front of me and try to process Milian’s request: Save a girl.
“Do you know about ‘Lyfon village’?” he asks.
I nod and decide to remain silent. For two Gold coins, this request must be something dangerous.
Lyfon village. About a three day journey by Stagecoach from Burg. It’s a village with no significance in the Human Continent.
Why would Milian want me to save a girl at Lyfon village?
Milian whispers to me, “Not many people know this news, but Lyfon village has fallen to the hands of the vampires.”
Vampires: those pale, ageless bloodsuckers…not really. They actually have the highest level of etiquette, even compared to humans. For that, they are a prideful race, thinking that they are better than the other races. Compared to Demons, I actually don’t harbor any ill feelings to the Vampires. Might be due to the fact that I was raised my Master Minerva, or because I only hunt Demons while staying in Burg.
“How did this happen?” I ask Milian, who continues.
“I’ll tell you when the time comes. So, this is my request. Head to Lyfon village, rescue a girl from the hands of the vampires and make sure that she is taken care until she is ready to stand on her own two feet.”
I ponder at the request given my Milian: a three-day journey, 6-days to travel both ways. About a week to complete this request and the reward is 2 Gold coins.
“Of course, I’ll provide the Stagecoach for travelling, as well as lodging when you arrive in the town just next to Lyfon village.”
In other words, most expenses are taken care of. I just need to kill the vampires.
“It goes without saying, that I’ll bring Marian and both my disciples.”
“That is why I prepare a Stagecoach.” Milian grins, as if he knew I’d say that.
Well, it’s not like I can refuse a request from Milian. He did bring me back to life, though he is also the one that killed me.
“I accept your request.” I take the 2 Gold Coins and finish the drink in my hand, “I’ll need to restock some battle-supplies first, but we can leave after lunch.”
“Very well, I’ll wait in front of your house with a Stagecoach by then.” Milian finishes his cup and pays the barkeep 4 silver coins, “We won’t be stopping at any town as we pass them. It’s a straight journey to Lyfon village.”
“We still have to stop to resupply our food.” I inform Milian, who then claps his hand, as if he remembered something.
“I forgot, humans need to eat daily to maintain their strength.” Milian laughs softly, “Very well, we can stop for food but no sightseeing.”
And so, we both part ways at the entrance of the Tavern. I head back home to inform everyone that we are heading to Lyfon village, while Milian heads somewhere else; most likely to get a Stagecoach.
“And that is how it is. We’ll head for Lyfon village after lunch, so have all the necessities packed and ready.”
I try to stress that this request will put us against an army of Vampires; that this is a dangerous journey. However, Marian and Charlotte are excited, taking this as a ‘trip to another village’. Elisu is as indifferent as always.
We split into two groups. Marian and Charlotte will buy all the necessary travelling supplies, while Elisu and I will head to the church to purchase Vampire-combat supplies.
“Elisu, how many holy arrows do you have?” I ask my second disciple who is walking beside me.
“About 20 arrows.”
“That’s not enough the last the entire trip.”
On a side note, Purified arrows are effective against Demons, while Holy Arrows are effective against Vampires. When I say ‘effective’, I mean that they’ll explode when they touch their target. Of course, it’s not like you can’t fight demons and vampires with normal weapons; it’ll just take you a longer time to bring them down.
We arrive at a two-storey wooden building. This sturdy looking building is without a doubt the only church in Burg. The further the church is from the main capital, the lesser the amount of coins the church shall receive from the main capital. This explains why this simple looking building can be called a church. Well, as long there is a cross at the top of the building, and the community can come here every Sunday to say their prayer…who’s to complain?
Elisu and I walk pass the front gate and head towards the back door of the church. Since the town of Burg is built on a barren land, it is very hard to grow crops and plants. In fact, no matter how hard Marian tried, she only succeeded is growing five measly plants at the back of our house. However, be it because of the blessing from the gods, or some sort of magic, the church is able to grow plants at the back of the church, and at large quantities as well. This is a ‘side income’ for the church, where they would sell the vegetables to the public.
As we reach the back area of the church, I see a nun watering the plants, her black neck-length hair hidden behind her white veil. She hums a certain lullaby as she continues with her task.
“Ah, welcome, Master Vena. Good morning, Elisu.” the nun greets us.
“Good morning, Sister Amelia.” I bow down in respect while Elisu raise her right hand and waves.
“There is no need to call me ‘Sister’, Master Vena. We have known each other for such a long time. Please, let us keep this friendly.” Amelia speaks as she puts down the watering tools and walk towards us. As a matter of fact, Amelia is the same age as me. Her breasts have grown splendidly for a nineteen year old.
“If that’s the case, please drop the word ‘Master’ and I think we have a deal.” I reply in a jokingly matter.
“N-No! I could never do that.” Amelia replies in an anxious tone, “After all that Master Vena has done for the church and this town, it is only fair that we greet you with the respect you deserve.”
Ah…did I do something to receive the praise of the church?
Maybe it’s because Burg only has two permanent Hunters to fight against any wandering demons. Minus the patrolling Holy Knights every now and then, we are the only ones who could actually protect this town.
“Anyways, I am here to purchase some Vampire-hunting supplies from the church.’ I decide to move ahead with the main reason why we are here.
“Oh, going out to hunt? I understand. Please come this way, Master Vena.” Amelia states as she walk ahead of us, towards the back door of the church.
“Hmm? Elisu, you’ve been quiet all this while. What’s wrong?” I ask my second disciple as I nudge her forward, towards the church.
Elisu doesn’t reply. She continues to grip the end of her shirt tightly with both her hands as she stares at Amelia and the church in a menacing way.
Guess this is no surprise. Elisu lost her faith on the church when the demons attacked her village.
I decide to pat Elisu on her head with my left hand, in an attempt to make her feel at ease. After all, we are here to get supplies, not go against the teachings of the church.
We make our way to the basement of the church. In front of us is Amelia, who is standing behind a wooden desk. Further behind her are two nuns, who seems to be around the age of Marian. They seem to be blushing…must be the weather.
“Now then, how can we be of service?” Amelia asks.
“For now, I’ll need about 30 holy arrows.” I state my order. Amelia raises her eyebrow while the nuns at the back start to whisper between each other.
“As well as twenty small vials containing holy water. Finally, bring me seven big vials containing holy water.”
Amelia speaks my order to the two nuns, who in turn head to the back of the basement to grab my supplies.
“That is quite a large order you are placing, Master Vena.” Amelia asks while we wait for the two nuns to return.
“Yeah, the request this time might involve some Vampires, so it’s best that I am fully prepared.”
“Vampires…I guess you must have heard the rumors spreading about the Holy Knights.”
“Rumors? What is it about?” I ask. One of the nun returns with a pile of Holy arrows in her hands. She places them on the table, glances at me for a split second before running back behind.
Is there something on my face?
“I guess Master Vena doesn’t know.” Amelia states as she begins to count the number of holy arrows on the table, “There are rumors that the Holy Knights are planning to purge Lyfon village, a village located east from here.”
Amelia writes something on a piece of paper as she continues, “Rumors have it that Lyfon village has fallen into the hands of the Vampires. That is why the Holy Knights are planning to purge every resident in Lyfon village.”
Looks like Milian wasn’t lying.
At the same time, Elisu picks us the Holy arrows one by one and examines them.
“Out of curiosity, when do you think the Holy Knights ‘might’ begin the purge?”
“Sometime this week I suppose. But this is just a rumor; don’t think too much about it.” Amelia finishes writing and passes the piece of paper to me.
On it is written: ‘What I say is the truth. Please don’t start a panic.’
“I believe the Holy Knights will have to assemble an army at the outskirts of Lyfon village first, not to mention the gathering of supplies. They will be ready to begin the purge in four to five days times.”
Now I know why Milian wants me to travel to Lyfon village as soon as possible. He wants me to save the girl before the purge begins.
The two nuns return a few seconds later, along with the rest of my order:
30 Holy Arrows – 5 Copper coins each.
20 small vials of Holy water – 1 Silver coin each.
7 large vials of Holy water – 2 Silver coin each.
I ask Amelia to throw in another 12 Purified Arrows, making the grand total of 55 Silver Coins.
Elisu is in charge of carrying the arrows while I take care of the vials of Holy water.
“Thank you for telling me about the rumor, Amelia.” I state as I pass her 55 Silver Coins. She passes them to the two younger nuns.
“Glad that I was of use to Master Vena.” Amelia replies as she walks us back to the back door.
With the two nuns behind her, they stop a few steps from the back door and bows down, “Be careful Master Vena…and good hunting out there. May the blessing of the church keep you and your companions safe.”
Blessing of the church? Like that can save anyone.
After leaving the church with our supplies, we pass by the Tavern. I notice a young boy and girl standing outside the tavern.
Wait…if they are here…
Just as I suspected, a man walks out from the Tavern. He is holding a piece of paper in his right hand. He wears an old worn-out piece of Defender armor, with a ragged black cloak behind him. He has a well-built body, as expected of an ex-Defender.
“Kolner!!” I shout at him as we get closer to the Tavern.
Kolner looks towards my direction, his eyes widening as I come into his view.
“Vena!!” he shouts with his loud and powerful voice. Most of the people stop whatever they are doing, wondering where the loud voice is coming from,
The young boy and girl stands on both side of Kolner as we finally reach the Traven.
“Vena!! It’s good to see you again!!” Kolner greets as he pats me on my back, causing me to stagger, thanks to his bulky hands.
“Kolner, looks like you finally came back from your quest.”
“Yeah!! The quest was a success. 10 demons killed, zero casualties.” Kolner laughs loudly as he boasts about his success.
Kolner is an ex-Defender currently in is early 30’s. As I said before, there are only two permanent Demon Hunters in this town – Kolner and Vena. When Kolner retired as a Defender, he left the Border and decided to settle down in Burg, where he became a full-time Demon Hunter.
When I first came to this town at the age of 14, Kolner was already here, causing a whole lot of ruckus with his loud voice and brute strength in the Tavern. After that, I became a Demon Hunter as well, and we started becoming close friends, since we were the only two who can protect this town.
“Alright. This calls for a celebration!!” Kolner declares as he tries to drag me into the Traven, “Come! Let us drink till we see the sun rise.”
It’s still morning you know! There’s no way I can drink for 20 hours straight!!
I immediately free myself from Kolner’s holding and straighten myself, “I’m sorry Kolner but not today. I have to fulfill a request.”
“Is that so? No worries, there is always another time!!” Kolner starts to laugh again.
Just then, a girl about the same age as Elisu, moves in front of Kolner and greets me, her dark blue hair flows downwards as she bows, “Good day, Vena. Hello, Elisu.”
Wow, no honorifics whatsoever…not that I really care.
“Hello, Lisa. How is the life of a magician coming about?”
“Master Vena!!” a boy appears from behind Kolner and tries to punch me. Instinctively, I leap backwards while Elisu dashes forward and punches the boy in the face.
“I see that you are as energetic as always; hello, Ron.” I laugh dryly.
“I could say the same for your disciples!! Elisu landed a fine punch there!!” Kolner replies as he catches Ron from behind, making sure that he doesn’t fall onto the ground.
Lisa and Ron are orphans who were adopted by Kolner a few years back. Lisa is the same age as Charlotte, fifteen. She is training in the arts of a magician. Though I say ‘training’, she doesn’t have a Master who could teach her magic. She merely learns magic by the knowledge in certain books and countless attempts and experiments by herself. She gets combat experience by travelling with Kolner. She wears a grey-color Magician cloak and hood, while wielding a simple wooden wand in her right hand. A simple straw-bag is sling across her shoulder, with books and notes about magic.
Ron is a year younger than Lisa, fourteen. He is training to fight with a sword and shield, and style completely different from Kolner, who uses a heavy two-handed sword. While Lisa is a silent, cool-headed girl, Ron is a feisty, hot-blooded fighter, who jumps into the battlefield without a second thought, just like Kolner.
“That was a good hit, Elisu!” Ron speaks as he stands up straight. Looks like Ron is trying to speak loudly, just like Kolner, “By the way, is Charlotte here?!”
Oh my…does Ron have ‘feelings’ for Charlotte??
Nah, not really. Ron just enjoys meeting Charlotte because of her feisty attitude. She will punch and kick him with all her strength, while Ron will try to counter her attacks and retaliate. Basically, they are ‘brawling-buddies’.
“I am sorry Kolner but I must take my leave now. We are leaving for Lyfon village after lunch.”
“Lyfon village?!! Vena, don’t you know that-”
“I know what is going to happen there, but it is a request. I must head there.”
Kolner scratches his chin as he ponders over something. He looks at the supplies Elisu and I are holding. In the end he nods, “I understand. I know that Vena is not someone foolish enough to march to his own deathbed.”
“Yeah, I’ll live longer than a reckless old man like you.” I joking reply.
“Ahaha!! We’ll see about that!! Be careful out there Vena!! Protect your disciples. I believe this will be the first time they’ll be fighting against Vampires right?”
I think back to the past few years of what we hunted, “Yes, this will be their first time.”
“Make sure you guide them, well. Only you wield the title of the Immortal Hunter, not your disciples.”
“I’ll keep that in mind as I get rid of those ageless Vampires one by one.” I bow down before excusing myself, Elisu does the same.
“Good luck, Master Vena!!” Ron shouts at the top of his lungs. Lisa merely stands where she is, staring at us.
“You can count on me to protect this town while you are gone!!” Kolner shouts as well, “Just focus on killing those pesky Vampires!!!”
With that, I part ways with one of my best friend. He’ll stay here to protect Burg while I head east, towards Lyfon village.