“You made us late!” Ha’vie huffed as she looked at the first light of dawn peaking over the distant horizon. Grannar puffed as he pinched her side. “Oi! You were the one that insisted that we make a stop at the sea for a little date!” the dwarf huffed with pride as the elf blushed. Ha’vie wanted to stop at the seat port a day’s flight from the Desert city if the took it easy.
The reason for the sudden outing was Edward had actually shown up a lot sooner than expected and caused another scene. He actually demanded that she present herself to Lady Avery. Grannar wasn’t too sure how his lady actually felt about her master, but he was sure it couldn’t have been good. He ended up being the voice of reason between the two before Lord Edward stormed off saying he’d be back and that the next time he showed up, he would just drag her to his daughter.
After that, Ha’vie demanded to go on a quick break at the sea to calm down. After settling their obligations, they took off that night to the port. It worked out because they would have left the next day to visit an old friend they hadn’t seen in months. However… They got a little too carried away and ended up a day behind schedule. Grannar didn’t fret though, he fought the great battle between lovers and came out victorious. Which was why they were a day late since Ha’vie had to rest.
Nearly a five hundred feet above the sand dunes, just high enough so monsters wouldn’t bother them, they could see for miles on their Wyvern. Ha’vie was sprawled across the dragon saddle, a basket like-seat that the entirety of the wyvern’s back with a large cushion tied to it for the riders. There were small saddles tied to the outside of the saddle for a small amount of cargo, just perfect for the nomadic couple. “Shouldn’t we already be there?” Ha’vie asked as she laid down in the saddle while her husband held the Wyvern’s reigns, navigating the skies towards Nephes. “Don’t be so impatient.” He cooed as he hummed to himself.
Another hour passed without any signs of the city.
As the sun rose higher and the morning sun illuminated the lands, Grannar saw the trees in the distance.” Shit! We passed it!?” He said, flabbergasted. “Seriously?! How did you miss an entire city?” Ha’vie shot up annoyed and looked over his shoulder. Just as the dwarf saw it, the tree line was coming up where it marked the end of the great desert and the border for the empire. She turned back and saw the Nephres behind them by a few miles. At their cruising speed, they had passed it nearly twenty minutes ago.
Not a single light was lit in the city as it sat nestled next to a large rock outcrop that acted as a shade in the early mornings. It didn’t cover the city, but in the morning shade, any light lit in the city would have been seen from the sky by them. If there was a fire. Grannar persuaded the beast with a tug of the reins to bank around and fly towards the city while increasing the speed.
With the increased speed, it only took them five minutes to reach it with the only downfall they couldn’t hear each other over the roaring wind. Grannar had the winged beast approach the city with the sun at their backs and came to a glide as they came over the city itself. Ha’vie and Grannar looked over the city over each side for any sign of people. The Free City of Nephes was most active at night and in the early mornings before the sun razed the dunes, but not a single life could be seen with the streets dim.
“I feel something evil down there.” Grannar muttered his thoughts out loud which pricked Ha’vie’s heart. “Get us down there.” She ordered monotonously as she glared at the dwarf. Dwarfs were innately gifted artisans due to their keen senses, some senses also made it easy for them to detect things like Black Magic. Necromancy, Soul Magic, Mind Magic, and other things that were morally and ethically wrong in every sense.
Grannar only nodded as he felt his body become restless. The wyvern dipped sharply before landing half a mile from the front gate. “We’ll hoof it from here. I don’t know what’s down there, but I ain’t ever felt something like that before. ” They weren’t worried about the Wyvern as it was a rare Alpha, stronger, faster, and bigger than it’s kin. With its tan skin, it was perfect for blending into the sand. The docile beast only cooed as Grannar fed it a large piece of meat that Ha’vie pulled out of her item box.
By the time they reached the gate, the sun was finally climbing overhead and illuminated the nestled city, revealing thick black particles hovering over it. The city gate was wide open with no signs of the guards. Both of them pulled their weapons from their sheaths. Two war axes sprouted in the Dwarf’s hand while a Katana gleamed in his wife’s grip. “You sure you want to do this?” Already knowing the love of his life’s answer, he still asked – hoping it was different.
“Layla and Savannah are in there…” She with confidence. Her eyes narrowed as they trained on the door, waiting for something to happen. Nothing did even after a few minutes so they stepped in.
The once dusty tan streets that were bustling with life in the morning was oddly silent. Strange stone statues of the guards clung to the walls on either side with piles of grey dust covering the floor under the gates. Grannar felt sick stepping on it for reasons he didn’t know before he saw the petrified guards. “Ha’vie…” He said. “I see it. ” her eyes were staring at the guards as well with an ominous feeling welling up in her.” Move. Quickly. ” She said as she quickened her pace. “Oi! I got little legs!” Grannar shouted after his wife as she sprinted down the main road.
. . . . .
“What do you believe Mana is, Master Avery?” Magnus Lorren asked, or as he’d been asking to be called the last few days, Disciple Lorren. Avery thought about and thought about the flavor text she had written out for mana since when her dad had forgotten. “Mana is the essence of the world itself. No one needs it to survive, but beings that do have mana have longer life spans. Such as Elves, Elves were beings closest to the earth which allowed them to live almost immortal lives, followed by dark elves who were considered impure Elves because of their skin.”
Lorren looked at Avery with a look of worship. She swore to god that he was ready to kiss her feet if she kept talking. Desmond was here as well and was slightly more reserved, but she could still see the same sparkle in his eye. She sighed as Ter’yut sat by her feet. He wasn’t looking at her, but she knew he was paying attention as well. Navara was knocked out completely, curled on a couch on the other end of the room.
They were inside the Magnus’s tower, yet she had to have the owner sit at her feet because he was shameless and would grovel at her feet randomly when she answered questions. A lot of the answers were simple “I don’t remember” or ” I never looked into it.” Mostly true, but the times she did know the answer, he acted like she had solved world hunger.
“Esteemed master, I had believed that mana was just simply a source of energy from the heavens.. I am truly blind.” He said as he tried to kiss up to my foot again only to be carried off by Ter’yut. Avery sighed in defeat. “Please don’t do that…” The old man only nodded without paying attention as he went into deep thought. “Let’s escape.” Avery whispered to Desmond. After waking Navara up, they slowly slipped out of the tower with the Magnus’s apprentices sending them out with smiles, glad of their newfound treatment.
The weaved their way through the Palace’s ground before exiting it. “I don’t know how you can stand that place.” Avery sighed as she referred to the palace as a whole. “It’s not so bad if you get used to it. It doesn’t grow on you, but you get used to it.” Demond said as Navara still yawned while clinging to Desmond’s left arm. “So we are we headed?” Navara asked. “The Monster Hunter Guild!” Avery said with excitement. “Ah, I remember being a hunter…” Ter’yut said with a smile.
“You use to be a hunter?” Desmond asked. “You think I got into this position going to knight school?” The ogre responded. “Yeah.” Desmond said with a straight face. Ter’yut didn’t bother to reply to him but instead turned his attention to Avery. “So why do you want to be a Hunter?” He asked. “Because it’s justice.” Avery answered.
After an hour of walking, they arrived at the Monster Hunter Guild in the outer ring near the front gates. The whole building stood at 2 stories and reminded Avery of a Viking hall from a certain video game. People of all different manners came and went while a few stood around talking to people. “C’mon, I can get you registered quickly. I know the guild master.” Ter’yut took the lead and brought the group inside.
Avery was like a child in a candy store as her eyes scanned over every detail. It was similar to the ones in the animes with a reception desk, a lounge area, and people in wildly contrasting armor sets. She could have sworn she was back in the game world until Ter’yut herded her up the steps to the right side, up to the second floor. This caught everyone’s attention as they glared at the group with questioning stares.
“O my, Ter’yut. It’s been a few years.” An elderly woman dressed in a black dress fitting her age met us on the landing. “Ah, Misses Parkins. It’s a pleasure to see you. I’m glad you’re still around, I’d hate to come around and find out you’ve kicked the bucket.” Ter’yut laughed unrestrained, different from when he was in the palace. “As vulga- Who is this beautiful young lady?!” Her attention quickly switched to Avery. “This is Lady Avery, she wants to join the guild.” Ter’yut said proudly while placing a hand on the girl in question’s shoulder and pushed her forward.
“This delicate beauty wants to hunt- ” The ogre placed his had up for her to stop. “I’d refrain from questioning Lady Avery’s abilities. She took out the High Magnus previously without even breaking a sweat. He called her Master now. She’s insanely powerful and insanely bored.” He said. Misses Parkin’s looked at the delicate white-haired beauty head from toe before nodding. “I’ll take your word for it. I’ve never known for you to exaggerate. Other than when you drink.” She smiled, veiling a threat of some kind.
“Now, come with me Lady Avery. If you’re as good as you say, you’ll have no problems jumping the ranks from F.” she said as she led the girl back Down the stairs to Ter’yut’s dismay. “She has to be at least S-Rank!” His voice coming up louder than he thought as the guild went quiet. “No dear, if she’s that powerful, she still has to prove it. Not that I don’t want to indulge my favorite ogre.” She mused as she reached the bottom landing and turned to the receptionist desk.
“I’m your only ogre here.” Ter’Yut frowned. He had hoped to show off to the others, but now he was just being plain out fleeced by his old friend. “Yeah, yeah. That’s beside the point.” This time, Avery’s melodic laugh broke their panter.” It’s fine, I just wanted to have something to do while I’m in town.” She said as the old lady went behind the counter and gestured for Avery to step up to it. “Hey, I was going to overlook your fucking shit idea of jumping ranks because the Guild leader was with you, but I think you’re too fucking stupid to be a hunter if it’s ‘just something to do’.” A burly man stepped out of line.
Avery looked over to him. “Well, I’m sorry if I offended you, but I was just being honest with the lovely lady.” She gestured to the Misses Parkins who stood behind the counter with an interesting look and took a ‘wait-n-see’ stand in the situation. “Halibut, don’t man. You always picking fights. I wish you’d put more effort into hunting than picking fights with others.” A slimmer man behind him with a staff said. “Hey, that little kid is mocking us! This job is hard enough without little kids going out and getting killed. She’s going to make us look bad when she does!” He huffed.
Avery only rolled her eyes and looked at the Guild Leader. “Can we continue?” She only nodded and shot the big man a warning glare before a smile returned to her and she went on with handing her a form and quill with ink to write in her information.