“I told you before you left the caravan but the Duke is demanding that we surrender to him.”
“Have you found Yaju?”
She nodded but her expression was grim. “Yes, however she has been injured. It seemed that she fought one of the Duke’s Court and won but the creature was able to poison her.”
I frowned, “Will she be alright?”
“I think so, she seems to have only gotten a small dose but it is enough that she will be out of commission for at least the rest of the day. She tried some basic medicines but they don’t seem to have any effect. So we are going to just have to wait for her to get better.”
“Disappointed, I wanted her to be able to help us with the Court. Did you have the total members of his Court that we have disposed of?” I asked.
“The plan mostly worked successfully. He has seven Noble Beasts in his Court from what we could tell. One of them fought Yaju and lost. When they attacked the city and noticed that we weren’t going after him they sent four of them in a group to go deal with the Hunters. We managed to break apart that group and then surround and kill those four. However a lot of our Hunters were injured in that attack and one of them died.”
“So there is the Duke and two of his court remaining. That doesn’t sound as bad as I expected. How many able Hunters do we have left.”
“Don’t think it is too easy. As far as we can tell the two remaining Noble Beasts are his most powerful allies and that isn’t even including him. Now for our assets, There is the two of us, the two of you, and we have three more uninjured Hunters. We have more if you include those who would not be capable of fighting the remaining Noble Beasts.”
I grimaced, with that few I had hoped to have Yaju as one of our members. With her there it would have been a lot simpler. “That will be a problem. From what you have determined to you think that the five of us would be able to fight the Duke if we all attacked him together?’
“Possibly,” said Alfred, “Outnumbering him would get be to our advantage and we could probably beat him if we managed to separated him from his two guards. With his guards I don’t think we would be able to beat him in combat.”
“Don’t worry about his guards, I have a plan for dealing with them. Now,” I looked at Kirk and then toward Elizabeth, “Do you have any spare weapons? I think Kirk would be a good candidate for using them because his blood isn’t as strong as most Hunters. Also if you had a small blade or equivalent that I could use that would be excellent.”
“I can get you a knife, however for Kirk,” She looked over Kirk examining him. “I can get him something but considering a custom weapon is what he really needs. I don’t have time to forge him one until the Duke is dealt with and given the nature of the weapons I think that simply handing out temporary weapons would just be bad for him.”
“But your ok with just giving me a knife?”
“You know what you want and that is what is appropriate for you.” He expression changed and became puzzled then she spoke again, “Actually I do have something that he could use. It was a project that I abandoned because nobody wanted to use it but parts of it is usable for now.” She looked over to Alfred and continued, “I’ll go get the things, you prepared with Rika.” Then Elizabeth ran away toward the mines section of the city.
Kirk looked strangely after Elizabeth before he said, “She felt excited like it was something that she had waited to happen for a long time. What do you think she is going to go get?” He asked looking toward Alfred.
“I don’t know. She has generally kept her forging and weapon construction techniques secret so she does not talk to me much about the different experiments she does when making the weapons.” Said Alfred.
“So you don’t know how she creates the weapons?” Asked Kirk.
“I know the general method but don’t know any of the specifics. However unless you can convince me that those techniques are relevant to the current situation I’m going to keep them secret like she expects me to.”
Kirk waved his hand, “Oh, no, I was just interested. If she wants to keep her techniques secret then I shouldn’t bother he about them.”
I nodded, “While I am also interested in how she makes weapons designed for Hunters I agree that those techniques do not seem relevant for the current problem. The Duke is set up in a government building is that correct? I’m going to get into a good position so that it will be easier to move out. Get the other available Hunters and meet me there.”
“I’ll need to lead you there before getting the Hunters.”
“No, Kirk will be able to get me into position just fine. Isn’t that right Kirk?” I said.
Krik nodded and said, “Yeah, I should have no problem finding a good position to attack the Duke.”
“Alright, I’ll meet you there then.” Said Alfred and the left.
Then me and Kirk headed to the location. He guided me through the threes which were full of Beast corpses. Unfortunately there were also some human ones as well. The plan would have probably kept casualties to a minimum but those casualties still existed.
As we walked I asked Kirk, “Did most of the human evacuate successfully?”
“As far as I can tell. It is really hard for me to detect normal humans especially at a distance. I can tell that there are a lot of them in the mines with some Hunters guarding them however that is the best that I can tell.”
“If most of them escaped then that is enough. Not we just need to deal with the Duke.”
“Are you really going to be able to deal with the Duke’s Court? Does that have to do with your special ability?”
“You really are good at sensing these things aren’t you. Yes, that is how I’m planning on getting ride of them.”
“And it won’t work against the Duke?”
“I doubt it. He is quite strong and I don’t think my ability will work correctly on him. If it does then excellent and ll my panning will be time wasted but I’d rather plan on it not working.”
“What if it doesn’t work on his Court. They seem quite strong.”
“Oh, I’m fairly certain that it will work on them. At least certain enough to make this plan. It might not work if they expected it but as a surprise I think I will be able to kill both of them before they can realize what I am doing.”
“Alright, I’ll trust you but will we be able to kill the Duke afterward.” He asked.
“We will have to. If we can’t do that then this entire city is doomed. There would be no way for the people to evacuate fast enough to stop the Duke and reinforcements from Districts would be far too far away. Sometimes you have to take risks like this even if you don’t know that you can win.”
“We are here.” Said Kirk. We had arrived near the back of a building. Kirk hide himself and looked around the corner. “That big building there. The Duke is inside that.” He grimaced, “The remaining members of his court are then as well as maybe fifty normal humans.”
“I guess he wasn’t kidding about killing people if we didn’t surrender. I hope we will be able to protect those people but protecting the large population in the mines is more important.”
I took a look as well. One of his court was pirched on the top of the building, a bird creature of some kind. It had too many human feats to be able to easily tell what kind of bird it looked like. “The other Noble Beast is inside?”
“Yes, the Duke is in the main room and the other member of his court is watching over the humans.”
I nodded and then we had to wait. A few minutes later Alfred arrived with his three other Hunters. I looked over them and then back to Kirk. “Now that you have seen all the members what do you think that our chances are?”
“Straight physical capability we would lose however because of the numbers I think we will be able to beat him. However that is still uncertain and also requires you to kill the other two Noble Beasts. Without the numbers advantage we don’t stand a chance.”
“Yeah, that is true. Is Elizabeth almost here?”
“I’m here.” Instead of Kirk, Elizabeth responded as she dropped down from the roof. She was carrying a couple of bundles wrapped in cloth. “It just took a bit to find the things I was looking for.” She took the smaller bundle and unwrapped it. There was a knife inside. She handed it to me.
It felt warm in my hands which was strange but it felt right to use such a weapon. It was sharp and just the right length for me. I spun the knife around for a moment and its balance was perfect. I smiled, “This is nice.”
“I thought you would like it.” Then instead of unwrapping the other much larger package she handed it to Kirk. “And this one if for you. Take care of it. It isn’t fully completed yet but if we survive today then I will make sure to finish it for you.”
Kirk began to unwrap the bundle and then looked up at Elizabeth in confusion. “This is a…”
“Yes, it is crossbow.”
Krik pulled it out of the wrapping and held it in his hands reverently. It was large and made of a combination of metal and wood. “This weapons, why did you choose it for me?”
“The weapon was an idea I had a while ago however after I made the initial version I couldn’t find anybody who would be good to use it. However I think it is a perfect weapon for you. Most Hunters want to use their own strength and find the crossbows do too much of the work for them. However all those weapons would be inappropriate for you.”
“Because I am weak?”
She shook her head, “No, because it frees you up to do what you are better at. Look at what else is in the package.”
Kirk pulled out what was left. It was a quiver full of crossbow bolts. He looked up at Elizabeth and then she nodded back at them. He pulled out one of the bolts and then another. There was confusion written on his face as he took out a couple more of them.
“What is wrong?” I asked.
“All the bolts are different.” He said.
Elizabeth nodded, “Indeed, every single one of them is different. The crossbow and bolts are still prototypes but if they work then I can reforge them in a better manner. Plus there are not as many bolts as I wanted to make however I lost my drive to finish the project when I discovered that nobody wanted to us the weapon.”
I frowned too, “Why are each of the bolts different? Wouldn’t it be better if they were all the same then you would get more reliability.”
Kirk looked up at Elizabeth and said, “No, I understand. Each person, each enemy, each shot is different. With all these different bolts there will be one for each of those shots, for each of those enemies.” He smiled and slung the crossbow over his back using the strap it had. “Thanks, I think you are right. This is the perfect weapon for me.”