I needed some defense against the claws however. It would be difficult to fight if I couldn’t defend myself effectively against him. My arms cracked and changed again. The skin thickened and the golden hair sprouted making my hands more like giant lion paws. I could feel the strain on my blood and instincts, it was difficult to control and keep my hands in that form. It was currently the limit of how much I could change myself. It wouldn’t be able to protect more than my arms.
The reptile came after me and with the changes in my arms I was able to block him with them. I could feel the claws attempt to cut their way through the fur and tough skin however I proved to be a little tougher than they were sharp. With that small amount of time that I got from blocking I was able to lift my leg and kick the creature. This time I used all the strength I could get out of my leg to try and inflict as much damage as possible.
The reptile was able to shift his stance and only slide a little bit from the force of the strike. His face contorted in rage and I could tell that it was painful for him much more than the previous strike had been. I grinned feeling that I had gotten the advantage. “You think you will be able to hurt me. You don’t stand a chance against me now that I can do this.”
That seemed to enrage the reptile and it rushed at me. The previously controlled style that it had been using was gone. Now it was just attacking with speed, force, and anger. That suited me just fine because I could fight like I liked to fight without having to control myself. I also knew that he was going to lose to me now, he had lost the main advantage that he had against me.
The fought along the battle of the wall and I was slowly able to wear down the reptile. My claws began to cut bloodily lines in the flesh of the creature. His movements began to slow and I knew that the end was now. Then in one attack I rushed toward the reptile beast. It tried to make one last attack but I ignored it and ripped into the creature. Then moments later it fell to the ground, blood spilling around it.
I stood over the body looking down at it. “Not so strong now. See how strong I am compared to you.”
It was making coacked breaths just before death but it still managed to breath out a response, “Hehehe, you may be stronger but you pride will be your end. You may have killed me but I have also killed you. Now die and let my king rule.” And then his breaths stopped. There were a few moments where I mentally gloated before his words began to resinate with me. I began to feel the pain in my chest.
I looked down and saw one long bloody claw mark in my chest. It was small and must have been done in that last attack. I reached down and touched the blood with my fingers. The wound was small but I still realized what it meant. I could already feel a numb feeling from my chest. I knew it wouldn’t be long before whatever poison it was began to affect me. However I needed to do what I could before I was rendered weakened by the poison.
Many of the Beasts had already gone over the wall and I had to do what I could to stop them. I would have to leave the Duke and the rest of this court to the other Hunters. I was supposed to help them with them during stage three of the plan but I didn’t know if I would resist the poison that long.
There were still some Beasts scaling in the walls in certain places. I could see Hunters fighting off Beasts in other places. So I went to one of the walls and fought. The numbing sensation grew as I fought the Beasts, cutting through them one by one. I fought off the poison as best as I could but before too long it was beginning to be more than I could stand. I found myself at the top of the wall, laying against part of the battlements. My chest felt it was on fire, not the painless fire like my blood, but a hot burning pain that rendered my nearly incapable.
It had stopped getting worse, which was good, but it wasn’t getting better. I had probably avoided a high enough dose which probably prevented it from being fatal however that didn’t make me feel any better and I didn’t know how long it would take me to recover. I still had enough strength that a couple of times when a Beast got close to me I was able to fight it off.
“Yaju? Is that you? Are you alright?” I heard the voice. It sounded like Elizabeth.
I coughed a couple of times and I think there was blood that came out. “I’m just peachy but I don’t think I’ll be able to fight any more.” I turned my head just enough so that I could see Elizabeth. She was covered in blood just like me and looked slightly injured. “How is the battle doing?” I asked.
“We are doing alright, we have managed to fight off most of the Beasts but the Duke and most of his court are still alive. What happened to you? I saw you fighting one of the Duke’s court and then things got too busy.”
“I beat that thing but it was poisoned. I think I will eventually get better but for now.” I waved my hand without moving my arm, “I don’t think I will be able to fight anything. Is the plan working?”
“It is working well. Most of the city is protected because of our plan. However the Duke placed himself in the capital building and is commanding that we surrender or he will begin to start killing people.”
I winced, “That sounds bad.” I coughed some more, “What time is it? If we consult with Rika she might have a plan for dealing with that.”
Elizabeth moved up to me and pulled me up to my feet and threw my arm around her shoulder. “I’ve already gotten into contact with Rika. The caravan has been rushing as fast as it could since you left so she should be here soon. Alfred has already sent one of the Hunters to meet with them. We are trying to delay as long as we can with the Duke while we wait for her to arrive and we can prepare as much as we can.”
“Just give me a few minutes to recover and I’m sure to be able to help.”
“Don’t be silly. You look like you may need weeks of recovery.” Said Elizabeth who while holding me ran along the wall. I relaxed and not that I realized that I was safe, fell asleep.
Rika - Against All Odds
I had the caravan going fast, any faster and the trucks would have crashed after hitting any small vine or pot hole in the road. Occasionally I got updates about what was happening in Istan on the radio. Things were going as well as could be expected. Four Hunters had already received dangerous injuries and one was confirmed dead.
We were getting close to Istan and I was expecting one of the Istan Hunter to arrive and trade off for me and and Krik. Only a few minutes later I saw the signal from Kirk and waved off into the trees. The Hunter jumped from the branches. I hailed them, “You are the messenger from Istan?”
He nodded and said, “Yes, I’m supposed to trade off with you.” I throught he looked tired. They had probably sent one of their Hunters and had been fighting long and needed a rest. Considering that the caravan would almost certain be safe it seemed like a good idea.
“Good, I’d love to stop and chat but people’s lives are in danger. You will be alright on your own?” He nodded and then I motioned to Kirk and the two of us went running off down the road.
“Will you be able to make it all the way?” I asked Kirk.
“I should be able to. The distance if fairly short and I have been resting so I should be able to make it all the way the Istan. Are you still sure that it is a good idea for me to come with you.” He asked.
“Yes, you able to sense Beasts is far beyond mine. Without you it will be difficult for me to execute the next phase of the plan.” My mind was still trying to go through the different opportunities.
“You still haven’t explained to me, or the Hunters in Istan what the next part of your plan it. Previously you said you didn’t want to give people false ideas before you have completely figured out what to do next. Has that changed?”
“I have the basic down, however it is personally risky and I’m not certain that it will totally work.”
“What is it?”
“You know how you can sense Beasts and Yaju is capable of transforming parts of her body to become more like the Golden Terror.”
“Yes, but I’m not certain what that has to do with the plan.”
“Well, each Hunter usually has unique qualities that are associated with their blood and their instincts. Sometimes they aren’t particularly special exceptional but every Hunter has some special trick that generally only their can perform.”
“Then this has to do with the ability that you possess? Is that why you want to keep it a secret? You never really spoke about what you could do beyond the normal Hunter capabilities.”
“Yes,” I felt a rising sense of unease which I was turn that Kirk could feel in my.
“It isn’t something that you are proud of then? However you think it will help solve this situation which is why while it is something that you would not normally use you plan on using it.” He said.
“That is correct. Not very many people know about it. One of them is Professor Stolas. I’m sure that it is the reason that I was put in charge of this team.”
“Is is something that would be effective against Yaju then?” He asked.
“Probably, I haven’t really experimented with it too much so there is a lot of uncertainty.”
Kirk didn’t say anything else. I was uncomfortable and didn’t really want to speak more on it. I still didn’t want to use it but it was looking like it was more and more inevitable. We ran in silence until we reached the wall of Istan. As we came within sight of it Kirk pointed to a pair of Hunters who were standing atop the wall.
“Hold on.” I said and then I grabbed Kirk and began climbing the wall. I’m sure that Yaju would have been able to climb it faster but it was easy enough for me, even if it was a bit slower while holding Kirk. When I finally reached the top I saw the man and woman that were standing there. “Alfred and Elizabeth I presume?” I asked.
“Then you would be Rika? I remember seeing you in caravans before but I didn’t know your name. I thought you would be a little older.” Said Alfred but it was just mild surprise. Age didn’t mean too much for Hunters. Many Hunters awakened to their instincts at a very young age so it wasn’t unusual to have experienced teenage Hunters.
“Yes, I’m glad that you could meed us at the wall. What is the situation like, has anything changed.”