I plan on editing this and the previous section to have Rika give Yaju a radio. After writing most of the following I felt it would be more appropriate for Rika to plan rather than Yaju given their personalities.
As such this section will probably be heavily edited if I make a future draft.
Also future sections will probably be written assuming that I made these changes.
“A caravan from Districts? We weren’t expecting them until late tonight. While I’m surprised you are so early I won’t complain. Can we be expecting any other help?” Asked the man.
“Maybe, if we can hold out long enough however it won’t be much help. Our caravan was guards are understaffed partly because we didn’t expect anything like this. There are two more Hunters who will be arriving with the Caravan however…” I looked out at the Beasts. “One of them won’t be much help in this situation and the other would be hard pressed to successfully get the caravan past that mess and then come to our aid.”
The man sighed, “I guess it is left to us then. I’ll try to bring you up to speed about what is happening. That unusual Noble Beast and his crew showed up in the middle of last night. One of the guards managed to stop him and be got on alert. Since then they haven’t assaulted the walls but instead more and more Beasts have began to show up. Initially we had hoped that we would be able to kill the main Beasts and scatter the rest. We have about a dozen experienced Hunters who are currently watching other parts of the walls in case of a surprise attack.”
He continued, “You seem strong too, much more then we would have expected from District caravan support.” He pointed toward the Duke and his Court. “How do you think you would fair against any of those.”
I tried to gauge my chances based off my initial impressions, “I think I could beat any of the members of his court. However the leader… I don’t know. Maybe if it was just one-on-one with nobody to disturb us I could potentially beat him. Optimally I think I would have a good chance if it was the three of us.”
The man grimaced, “Well that was a better response than I expected and worse than I hoped. Still I guess we have to work with what we got. You ran past them, any insights that you could give us to give us an edge.”
I collected my thoughts trying to go back over what I saw when I ran past and fought the wolves and the bird. “Well, that leader, he must believe that you would be able to beat him and his court if a straight fight. If he thought he could win then he wouldn’t have bothered gathering this large of a horde of beasts.”
“We thought the same. However we felt that it was only true if we were defending the wall when he tried to assault. Otherwise he wouldn’t have shown up outside the wall. It was like he was tempted to take the fight to him in the Jungle where he would have an advantage.”
I nodded, “Yeah, he probably plans to assault the walls with as many Beasts as he can muster to weaken you and provide him a good opportunity to break in and kill all the Hunters. Give that he has already gathered such a crew it seems likely that when he attacks he will keep his whole court together. We would be forced between protecting the town from the other Beasts and fighting them who would have a large advantage given the amount of allies. You must already have a plan?”
There was a dark glance between the two of them before the woman said, “We were planning on throwing everything we had to kill the leader as soon as he attacked the wall. Kill him as quickly as possible. With him dead that would hopefully break up the leadership and cause the horde of Beasts to dissolve and make easy pickings.”
I looked down at the city behind the wall. I knew what he really meant. It would be impossible to defend the city if the Duke attacked. They would sacrifice defending to city in order to win. There would be huge casualties in the city before they would finally manage to purge the city of Beasts. It was a really dangerous plan with awful consequences. However given what they had to work with and the force arrayed against then it was probably the best that they would come up with.
I was trying to figure out how I could figure into this, with my help maybe they wouldn’t have to sacrifice a large portion of the city. However currently the best I had was just a more efficient method of their plan. So to get a better grasp of the situation I continued to asked questions, “I noticed that the two of you are using weapons. Most of the Hunters that I know fight unarmed.”
The woman said, “Well, not everybody is capable of transforming their body like you. We have a smaller population of Hunters here so most of us count as second or third generation Hunters. Since we have access to the large sources of metals in our mines it is easy for us to create weapons for our Hunters. Unlike Districts we don’t have the luxury of old using Hunters with strong blood and we are forced to use what we have access too. Also,” She smiled, “We have some great blacksmiths to make good weapons.”
I payed some more attention to her. She was the one carrying the bow which I noticed seemed to made of metal. A normal person probably could even draw it. It was a weapon made especially for a Hunter. The weapon that the man was using was probably the same. “Weapons made for Hunters…” Given the was the responded I guess, “Made by Hunters. Then I’ll trust in their effectiveness. Are all of the other Hunters here so equipped?”
She nodded, “Most of them. We have a couple who use standard Hunter unarmed combat and have strong enough blood for that to be effective. Their special make makes them much more useful against Beasts than normal weapons.” She looked over the wall toward the corpse of the Beast that she shot down.
“Could normal people use them?”
“Not effectively. They are made much denser then normal metals and as a result are very heavy. Some strong soldiers can use them but even so Hunters will always be better at fighting Beasts than normal humans because of our Instincts.”
I nodded. I had finally had enough time to think about the situation. “I’ve been thinking. Your plan can probably succeed assuming we can kill the Duke in the first attack. However the casualties will be too high.”
“Then do you have another idea? Even with you I don’t think we could make a direct attack on them and succeed. Unless you can think of something unique to do then I don’t think we have any other options.” Said the man.
“We know that a direct assault against them without the protection of the wall would be suicide and they know that we know it. Also I’m sure we both know that when they assault the walls we will have difficulty defending it and preventing them from breaking in. It is possible they they know we will attack them and are planning on using that to eliminate all the Hunters. No, I would beat that we are both counting on winning that same battle. However we know less about them then they know about us. We are missing crucial information.”
“Do you think they have some secret hidden up their sleeves?”
“Possibly, but that was not what I was referring too. My question is why are they attacking the city?”
The two of the shared a glance before the woman answer, “I don’t know, we really hadn’t thought about that. Maybe they just want to eliminate the city so that there will be no competition in the nearby area.”
“It doesn’t seem that simple too me. I think they have something else in mind, I just don’t know exactly what. However I don’t think it is simply elimination. I think they want something that is in or part of the city.”
“Alright, but how does that change anything?”
“I’ve been trying to use my instincts to figure out what is the best solution and the more I do the most I think that your plan is the correct one. However what is that is a trap?”
“A trap, what do you mean?”
“I think that this… the waiting outside the wall, is to create the response we are feeling right now. I think that the Duke is trying to eliminate us, the Hunters that are protecting the city.”
“Of course he is trying to eliminate us. We are the only people who can protect the city from him.”
Then the woman responded, “Wait… I see what you are saying. If he wants something from our city then that must mean he wants something from humans. The threat to the city is a bluff, meant to force us into a battle where he can eliminate us.”
I nodded, “Exactly. If you think of it like a human would it begins to make sense. He is trying to conquer the city not destroy it. That is another reason he needs so many Beasts. He needs a threat against the population, a bargaining chip to get what he wants out of them. Of course that doesn’t mean the people are safe, that Beast probably doesn’t care about any individual human.”
The man held out his hand, “Wait, do you realize what you are saying? That a Beast is trying to conquer, to rule, a human city?”
“Yes, that is basically exactly what I am saying. And I also think that we need to stop him.”
“Alright, even if what you say is true then what do you suggest that we do?”
“We ignore the Duke.”
“WHAT??” It was almost a scream.
“He is expecting us to try and stop him. Instead we stop the army. He can more easily stop the weaker Beasts that make up the army and they provide the real threat to the city. Alone he wouldn’t be able to control all the people in the city. If we try to eliminate the army then he will have no option but to split his court to try and kill us. Then we can use that to eliminate those members of his court are the most dangerous. With them dead and the army defeated we would be able to fight and win against him.:
“And the people of Istan?”
“Some will almost certainly die but that would happen in the other plan too. In this one it is likely he will try to use the lives of the people of Istan to force us to surrender. However if we can get ride of the army the amount of people he can individually kill is quite limited. Certainly a lot less then the number that would have been lost in the unprotected invasion.”
“Your plan, while dangerous, risky, and uncertain, is then probably the best option that we have. Assuming your determination of his goals are correct then this will indeed be more safe than any other option. However if you are incorrect then his court will stay together after we had show that we would stop the army. We could lose a lot of people to him and his court before we face them and they we would be back to the beginning where we need to kill him to force his court to leave. However even if that is true your plan still has valid merit. That amour of people him and his court will be able to kill is probably less then how many the army would kill if they breached the wall.”
“Exactly, even if I am correct the plan still has merit and if his army doesn’t break when he is killed there isn’t a huge host of Beasts inside the city.”
“Alright, I’ll inform the others of the change in plan.”