I sat there and watched the cocoon as the night went on. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I couldn’t just leave it here, who knows what might happen if I did that. I was conflicted about my opinions about what to do with it. I had been left with it so I didn’t want to just break it and kill the beast inside. That felt wrong. Still I didn’t want to be in charge of her either. But then what should I do with her, just tell her to leave when she emerged from the cocoon. That might just be the same as killing her myself.
So I waited. I did not know how long it would take for the cocoon to hatch. I could only assume that it would not be too long. The time slowly passed as I watched the cocoon. I could see the form inside the cocoon dimly. She was very human shaped. A lot more then then the noble beast which left her with me. Would she be like the other human looking noble beasts that I saw in Istan.
I think I nodded off for a little bit while waiting. However there was a sound that caused me to snap awake. The cocoon was beginning to crack open. I stood up and walked over to the cocoon. It was beginning to crack open. Green ooze began to pour out of the cocoon and I watched as the hand which looked almost like a human hand reached out of the cocoon and grabbed the edge. Then slowly she pulled her self out of the cocoon.
The first thing that I noticed was that she was naked, not surprising considering she had been inside a cocoon. It would probably be weird if she had been wearing clothes while inside a cocoon. The next thing that I noticed was how human she looked. Her joins looked a bit strange with weird joints on them like her arms weren’t really flesh but instead some flesh looking carapace. Other than that strangeness it was almost impossible to tell that she wasn’t human. However her eyes were a bit disturbing. The pupils were almost pitch black, like the other insects that I saw.
She stood there standing in the juices of her cocoon. She stepped out of it and onto the stone floor. She looked around at the empty cave and then at me. She then knelt and turned her face toward the ground. Then she spoke, “Mother must be dead then. You are my new master then. Please do with me as you wish.”
Her voice was a bit raspy, like her mother’s but it still was almost human. If you didn’t know what to listen for you might not even notice it at all, “I…” I tried to speak but I didn’t know what to say. However the insect beast girl just stayed there waiting for me.
Finally once I had gathered my thoughts I managed to say, “Yes, your mother left you in my care. I’m not really certain what to do with you but I guess I’m in charge now.” I didn’t see any other option that I could take. I felt like one of those people who found a basket with a baby in it outside of their how however I didn’t think any orphanages would take Beasts. I asked, “Do you have a name?”
“My mother called me, Child of the Morning because I was her first child and I was born in the morning. However you may call me whatever you desire.”
Everything felt awkward. I didn’t really know how to deal with her. I had expected somebody more like Yaju, more uncontrollable and beastial. However this beast seemed to instead be more servitile, I wondered if it had something to do with being an insect. “Alright, then I could just call you Morning, or maybe Morn. Is that alright?”
“If that is what you desire then that will be what I will be called master.” She said.
“Eh, this is going to be a pain isn’t it. First we are going to need to get you some clothes. I can’t have you walking around naked, human’s just don’t do that and you are going to stand out.”
“Yes, of course Master. Unfortunately I had not clothes of my own so I must humbly ask you to provide them for me.”
I groaned, this would certain be a pain. Maybe I really should have abandoned her before she broke from her cocoon. “Also you are going to need to stop calling me Master, my name is Rika.”
“Of course Master Rika.”
“No, just Rika.” I had to give her some reason to stop calling me that so I fumbled the first one that came to my mind, “If you are going to be with me you need to act like you are not my servant.”
“I see,” She shifted and then stood up. “Is this better mast… Rika.”
“Yes, much better. Also I live among humans so you are going to need to pretend to be human. Who knows what would happen if they found out that you were a Beast.”
“Yes of course. This was why my mother helped me change my form so that I may better be accepted as your servant.”
“Yeah… well. Can all Beasts do that, it seems a bit unusual however I had seen other Noble Beasts that looked similar to Humans.”
“The insect clans are better at it then other beasts. There are already insects which dramatically change their form over their lifespan so it is easier and faster for us to change. I apologize but am not certain how the other clans are capable of changing their form just that they are capable of doing so.” Said Morn.
“But you were capable of doing it because of that strange cocoon thing. What did you look like before that.” I asked, it was a terrifying type of curiosity.
“My mother said that I should not tell you, that it would be best if you did not know what I previously looked like. However if you order me to tell you then I will be forced to comply.” She said.
Well at least she had a little bit of independence, that was good at least. “No, that is fine. If your mother said that I should not know then I will not ask unless it becomes important.”
I considered, what was I going to do. I wasn’t really planning to create a court like Morn’s mother thought I should do but I did feel that I should at least take care of her. My only other option seemed like it would be to find some other ruling Noble Beast that wanted to take her and that seemed like a whole lot of trouble just waiting to happen.
Finally I said, “Well, if I’m going to take you along I’m going to have to ask you some questions. Your mother said that the reason that you are here is because your hive got attacked by what she called the Nothings. However she wasn’t able to give me too many details before she told me to take care of you and then she died. Could you tell me what you know about these Nothings.”
“I will tell you everything that I know. Our hive is around a days journey to the east of your city. Normally we considered ourselves to be far enough away from your city that we do not worry about you. However it was three days ago when the attack began. There was two dozen people wearing the insignia of your city. They were strong enough to fight off the hive and mortally injure my other.”
“Your mother said that they were not Hunters? Is that right? And if they weren’t Hunters then how could they beat Beasts, especial Noble Beasts.” I asked. It was the question I wanted an answer from previously but I hadn’t be able to get one.
“They had, what are they called, guns?” Said Morn.
“Sure, I suppose that guns are effective against Beasts but generally normal humans are incapable of effectively fighting against Beasts without extreme training and then they find it difficult. That is the main reason Hunters are the primary defense against Beasts. They have the temperament and physical abilities to effectively fight Beasts” I said.
“These ones were different but they were certainly not Hunters. Hunter fight like we do but they were totally different. There are certain type of insects that I would compare them to, ants. They were perfectly coordinated and they did not care about their own lives. We even killed some of them but that did not halt their attack at all.”
“That sounds like a coordinated military strike. I suppose it is possible that Districts has a special force of normal humans who are capable of killing beasts however I don’t know why they would attack you.”
“There is something else too. Those people did not feel like humans. I would say that is felt like they have no emotions, no desires of their own. Even our insects that were trained to fight and kill had more emotion then them. There was literally nothing inside these people. It was like there was nothing but their orders driving them onward.”
“Your mother expressed the same sort of sentiment about them. That is why she called them the Nothings. I guess I will try to find out more about them but if they are trying to keep themselves secret I doubt it will be easy. Anything else that you could tell me about them that would help me identify them?”
“They were wearing body armor with masks to protect their faces so I can not tell you what any of them looked like. However I know they had a leader with them. Someone like them but not like them.”
“So like what? He had some amount of emotion and individual drive but not much.”
“Yes, like that. It was a large man who commanded the others. There was not much existence within this man but there was more than the others.”
“I suppose that a commander needs to have more self awareness then soldiers do. He needs to be able to make judgement calls and decide different tactics in the heat of the moment. A perfectly obedient soldier would be incapable of doing that. And knowing he is a large man helps to.”
“Unfortunately that is all that I know of him. Like the others his face was covered and even if it wasn’t I could not adequately describe human facial features. Please forgive me for my failure.”
“No, you certainly have answered my questions to the extent that I needed. For now we need to return to Districts. I guess I will have to smuggle you in because they certainly wouldn’t let a naked insect beast girl inside the city. I wonder how I’m going to explain this.”
She was silent. I didn’t really know what she was thinking but I decided to explain myself to her possible questions. “Even if you look like a human in most ways I am certain that there are Hunters who would be capable of detecting what you really are.”
I concentrated trying to feel her presence for myself, finally I said, “While many of them would probably confuse you with a Hunter if they didn’t deliberately try to tell the difference I know of at least one Hunter who will instantly be able to tell your true identity. I can probably convince him not to reveal it but there might be others who are less than willing.”
“I will do what I can do but there is a limit to what I can do to appear as a Hunter.”
“If we keep you away from most of the other Hunters that will likely be sufficient for a while before I can decide a better solution. However I’m still going to have to explain it somehow to Kirk and Yaju.”