“It is nothing special and it wasn’t certainly a nap. It is simple, after my watch I decided to do some training. The training rooms on my section of the wall tend to be more crowded then the ones here and it was close by so I decided to use these ones.” I said. It was the excuse I had come up with ahead of time. It was basically true, since the gate I usually guarded was one of the major gates it tended to have a large compliment of Hunters than this gate. The only problem was that I had no idea if this argument held water today.
“Oh? You always were a go-getter. No wonder you managed to get more privileges then me. I heard that you even had an exciting adventure leading your very own caravan. I wish I could have something like that happen to me.” He was far too excitable about the idea of defending against a horde of beasts.
Then he did exactly what I didn’t want him to do. He looked over toward Morn and then back at me before saying, “And who is this? Your need training partner? I haven’t seen her around before. Is she a new hunter you have been assigned to train?”
I signed, “Morn this is Lucius, Lucius this is Morn. Now that I have introduced you to each other is is really time for us to get going. We had a long training session and it is getting rather late so we should really get going.”
“Morn was it? It is a pleasure to meet you.” I reached out his hand to shake her hand. She looked down at his hand and then glanced at me. I nodded and she tentatively reached out her own hand. Lucius grabbed it and shook it.
“Yes, pleasure.” Was all that she said in response.
Lucius didn’t seemed to give her anti-social response the slightest mind. He just said, “I wouldn’t want to keep you from getting home. However as it so happens I just got off so I’ll be able to accompany you. We live in the same district so we might as well walk to the city together. Morn, do you live in this District too?”
“Yes.” She said.
“Excellent. Then you want walk with us too.”
I glared at Lucius. I needed to find a way to avoid walking back to the city with him. I already had to deal with the fact that he had seen Morn and I had been forced to introduce them. If I had to stumble my way through explanations all the way back to the city I’m sure something bad would happen.
I really didn’t want to do it but I felt there was not a better way of avoiding him. So I spoke again, this time slightly changing the tone of my voice, “You go. We were planning on stopping by the cafeteria before leaving. We wouldn’t want to force you to hang around waiting for us.”
He stood there for a moment as if trying to understand what I was telling him. Eventually he spoke, this time without his usual vigor. “Alright, I’ll do that. I would not want to inconvenience you. Please take care.” He then turned and began to walk away. I took a deep breath partly relieved that it had worked successfully.
I turned away from the direction that Lucius went and began walking in a different direction. As we walked I could see confusion in Morn’s eyes. I said, “You can ask me a question if you want. In fact you can do that anytime you what, especially when we are alone.”
“Why did that man just leave us alone. It felt like he wanted to go to the city with us.”
“Your mother called me the Queen Who Dwells Among Humans. If there is anything that qualifies me for that title it is this ability. I can command people if I speak in the right way. Without a strong resolve and if you don’t realize what I am doing it is difficult to resist especially if the command is subtle.”
“Any you used one of those command on him?”
“Yes, I try to avoid using it on anybody because I don’t like forcing people to obey me.”
“But you used it here.”
“Yes, I did. I need to keep your identity a secret. Until I can you registered as an official hunter having people question you will be a bad idea. Plus Lucius tends to ask to many questions. At least until I can sort things out it would be best to not have to deal with him.” I moved through the rooms trying to avoid people.
Once I felt that enough time had passed that Lucius would have certainly left all the way I doubled back and began heading to the gate. This time we managed to escape the wall without being interrupted by anyone.
After getting through the gate we continued into the city. It was a bit of the walk and we had to go slower then I was used to. If we went too fast it was possible we would catch up with Lucius. We walked in silence. I didn’t really know what to say to her and she simply remained silent.
Eventually we reached the city and I lead the way through the streets until I got to the apartment building. It was a gated appartment complex with a bunch of large buildings in it. Most of the people here were reasonably affluent and the apartments took the whole floors of one of the buildings.
I lead the way to the building farther in the back and we took the elevator to the top floor. The entire floor was mine not that I used to for much. I unlocked the door and let Morn into my place.
As we entered I said, “This is my place. You can make yourself at home.” I pointed over to one of the doors and continued, “That room is currently empty so you can use that if you want to. I don’t have a spare bed so your just going to have to make due until I can get something for you.”
“This whole place is yours?”
I nodded, ‘Yeah.”
“Is it because you are a Queen?”
“Ha, no. I’m just a Hunter. We get quite the compensation. I think most get houses so they are left alone more. I like this apartment because I don’t really have to take care of anything.”
“And you live here alone?”
“At least until now. I’ve been living alone for a while now. My father doesn’t exactly see eye to eye with me.” I shrugged as I took a seat on one of my couches.
“Any your mother.”
“We occasionally talk. She is a retired Hunter.”
“Is she strong?”
“I initially thought so. She always seemed strong but as I got more used to my own powers I realized that she was not as strong as I had thought she was. Sure she was strong enough to work as a Hunter for many years but…”
“But what?” Asked Morn.
“I’ve been changing how I think about Hunters recently. There are Hunters that I previously thought of as strong but now I’m considering them weaker and weaker.”
“Is is because you are getting stronger?”
I shrugged, “That is part of it. It is also more of an issue of what I think of as strength. Most of the Hunters in Districts seem old fashion to me. Part of that is because of my experience in Istan. Many of the Hunters here just use standard Hunter fighting techniques without anything special. You saw some of the Hunters today what do you think?”
“The Nothings would kill them all.”
“I was afraid that was the case. Districts has continued to rely on Hunters with strong blood to protect them however I wonder if that is enough.” I looked at my hands. “I keep wondering if we are possible of so much more. My friend Kirk mentioned that it was possible that a lot of Hunters have hidden talents and since he did I can’t shake the feeling that he is right. However I think it is more then that.”
I looked over to Morn as asked “What do the Beasts think? Do you have hidden talents and abilities?”
“I am still young. My mother’s hive was fairly isolated so I don’t know. However my mother was very strong and she always surprised me with what she could do. The cocoon was mostly her showing me what to do.”
“Yes, that is part of it too. It seems that beasts and hunters both have an ability to transform themselves in some manner. I know Yaju is capable of doing temporary transformations to give her more strength. Hmm…” I sat there thinking. Thoughts tickled at the back of my find. Eventually I turned my head and looked out toward the window.
“That was quick.” I said.
“You also noticed the Hunter that is approaching. I didn’t mention anything because the Hunter seems fairly weak and if you are staying in these apartments then other Hunters might be as well.”
“There are a couple but this one is different. This one is coming to visit me. And presence can be deceiving.” I stood and made my way over to the door. I pulled it open and said, “Hello Kirk.”
Kirk - Revelation
“Hello Rika.” I said.
“Come in.” Said Rika as she motioned me inside, “I didn’t expect you so late. Instead I was planning on calling you in the morning and having you come over. Why did you come anyways?”
“I sensed a few weird things so I came to figure out what was causing it.” I said while I followed Rika into her living room. It was empty of anyone else and we took seats on opposite sides of the table in the center.
“I’m sure you have a lot of questions to ask me.” Said Rika.
I nodded and said, “Indeed.”
“And I suppose the first one would be why I have a Beast in my house?”
“That was the one that came to my mind first too.” I looked over toward the door which I could feel the Beast hiding behind, “So why do you have a Beast in your house.”
“That is an extended story.” Rika also turned to the door and said, “It is alright. You can come out. Kirk is a friend.”
The door opened and I saw the woman in plain Hunter clothes. If I couldn’t tell she was a Beast with my senses I might have thought she was a human. The black eyes gave it away but otherwise she was virtually unidentifiable.
“How did you detect me? I thought I did an excellent job of concealing my presence.” Said the woman.
“I see. I suspected she was a Noble Beast and I guess that is right.” I said, “And I detected you because my senses are particularly sharp. Also when you sensed me you began to slowly hide your presence. A normal hunter who wasn’t looking for you might not have realized you where there but it was simple for me to detect you.”
Rika looked between us and said, “I guess I will give introductions. This woman, who as you suspect is a beast, is called Morn. And this man is a fellow hunter, his name is Kirk.”
“You still haven’t answered my question.” I said.
“Do you want me to give you the short answer or the long one?”
“I have enough time to listen to the long one.” I said. Rika then began her explanation of how she had met the beast and been shown to the cave where she met the insect queen.
After listened to the who explanation I leaned back. “Nothings? I haven’t head anything about them before.”