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TOTGDK EP 12: Trial of the Hunter: First Trial (Part 6)

The heavy pressure of Ying and the looming form of Vuqun was the only thing both Moushira and Naxio could pay attention to. The beast's form was large, much larger than the worm creature they had fought before, and even larger than the snake that they had encountered so long ago. Its skin was dark at night, scales gleaming dangerously. Its crimson eyes beamed down on them as it slowly takes in their appearance. Letting out a large huff from its nose as if to scoff at them. Its body was mostly pinned down by large dark red rods that punctured its wings. It couldn't move far but the reach from the neck was large enough to be not even a few feet away from them.

Then a voice was heard, it was low and in a deep rumble.

"...human…hunter…" The voice hissed.

The words seemed to echo around them as the voice spoke in what felt like a soft whisper but came out as a booming yell. It appeared to have a female tone, but they couldn't be 100% sure. Its piercing gaze ventures from Moushira then slowly to Naxio and oddly its eyes narrow further.

"....You…human…? But… you smell… different.."

Naxio and Moushira were too frozen in fear or shock to move from their spot. The beast let out a growl as it took in another deep smell.

"Hunters… children..? They send…children... To be my end..?"

The voice seemed to grow angry at the end of its sentence. The wyvern then thrashed its tail making the ground tremble with just a simple flick.

"They dare…! They dare mock ASHVAL?!"

The voice rose even further with anger, the trashing of its tail easily shook rocks from the ceiling and bore giant holes in the walls. Though its movement was blocked by the pillar stuck into its wings, the beast still tried to reach out with its snapping jaw.


Naxio and Moushira now had no choice but to move to avoid the snapping jaws of this giant wyvern. However, the speed that it moved at wasn't something either was expecting. Though the teeth may have missed its target, the swinging jaw slammed into Naxio, knocking him clean through the air and back into a wall of the cavern.

"Cough! Ugh~!"

"Naxio..!" Moushira called out to him as she charged forwards once again avoiding the snapping jaw.

Kaldov and Thakan also moved to see the now very perilous situation that they all were now in. However this time their opponent wasn't a mindless beast. Vuqun saw them coming about a mile away. Its tail flicked again, moving through the air at a neck-breaking speed, easily swatting both Kaldov and Thakan out of the air like flies. Both slammed painfully into the stone floor below.


Vuqun then turned back to Naxio and Moushira without missing a beat. It maw once again rising to eat the pair. Moushira acted quickly, calling forth her wires to then wrap around the closing mouth. Its teeth are just barely inches away from them. The heat haze of the creature breathing was beating down on them.

"...Guys, help!!" Moushira strained to keep the beast at bay, as the razor-sharp teeth threatened to close around them


Kaldov was the first to recover, shaken but quickly summoned his blade. It dances around him, deadly and poised before striking against wyvern's almost iron-like body. He then mumbled some words, the blade ignited in a blue glow once again. This time appearing back in his hand Kaldov begins to hack away at the wyvern.


The beast then swung its heavily scaled tail at Kaldov. The whipping tail snapped down toward him at inhuman speeds. It was blocked however by Thakan as his axe met the whipping tail with a loud clanging noise. He however wasn't still prepared for the weighted pressure behind the tail as his feet dug deep into the cavern floor. He clenched his jaw as he used all of his strength to hold on to the tail. Meanwhile, Kaldov had not stopped his assault on the wyvern. Which proved to be just enough destruction to release pressure off of Moushira.

"Get ready to move Naxio." She said quickly as she lungs her grasp, throwing the head of the wyvern to the side of them.

Instantly both Naxio and her dashed away from their once cornered position to try and circle around the beast. However, Vuqun wasn't even close to done. Though they may have been surprised by the sudden tactics, it was quick to respond. Its head whips around and opens its mouth wide.


Suddenly there is a boulder size globe of fire formed in it's mouth. Moushira and Naxio only had gotten a quick glance before the blast of flames came hurtling towards them. The heat and fury of the flame melting anything in it's path and there just wasn't enough time to dodge.

"Moushira, Naxio, down!"

Without even a hesitate thought, both of them dove to the ground and then suddenly there was a form before them.

It was Thakan!

He quickly swung his axe, once again the flames that he summoned from before whipping around it. The axe met the large fireball head on and it was now a show of endurance. The fireball easily dwarfed him and even the others. But Thakan stood defiant against the flames. Moushira and Naxio quickly also came to his help. Naxio with a shielding while Moushira tried her best as well to give the extra strength to destroy the fireball.


Kaldov was quick to respond to his friend plite, once again whispering a quick incantation, his blade this time turning from a deep blue to a radiant purple. A sigil suddenly appeared before the trio which seemed to block the wayward flames that would lick at them from the stopped fireball. This all occurred in what felt like hours but were in fact just a few minutes.

But with all their combined strength, there were able to destroy the lethal attack.

However, that also meant that they had fully or at least almost completely exhausted themselves. Moushira fell back to her knees, her wires hanging limply next to her. She could barely keep her head up as she took in deep breaths. Thakan who had taken on the brute force was stiffly standing but it was obvious from the shaken of his arms he had very little of that berserker-like stamina left. Naxio, who was still winded and a bit injured from beforehand, was also in a similar state.

Vuqun however only appears slightly winded after that last attack as it towered over them growling.

Kaldov quickly stood before the group, glaring at the beast even though it was clear his strength alone wouldn't be enough.

"....Impressive…little hunters…" Vuqun said in an almost impressive manner.

Kaldov braced himself for another fight but is shocked to suddenly see a shine of light erupting from Vuqun. They all quickly turned away from the blindly light for a few seconds until the light slowly died down. Looking back, however, the hunters were met with a shock.

Gone was the large beast of Wyvern, no scales or tail to be found. Instead what they saw was...

"A woman..?" Moushira said with a clear look of confusion on her face.

Staring back at them was a woman. Her skin was plain as fresh snow, her eyes an oddly familiar ruby red. Dark obsidian-colored hair fell around her, so long that it brushed against the cavern floors. She was also completely naked, not a single thread of clothing on her however she didn't appear to bother in the least bit, she was almost casual as she sat on the ground. One thing however that did stick out was those same dark red rods that were once in the wyvern, were now pieces on the woman's back.

Both Naxio and Thakan looked away immediately at seeing in her that stated of undress however Mousrhia and Kaldov kept their eyes trained on the woman before them.

A smirk appeared on her slightly redden lips as she gazed at their group as if amused by something.

".... Vuqun, I presume?" Kaldov asked, not lowering his sword or letting this alluring woman however of his sight.

Naxion and Thakan look to Kaldov and then back at the woman in shock. It was also at the moment upon looking back to it was apparent of her similar non-human aspects. Dark scales covered over small portions of her body and face. Her eyes pupil was shaped just like her Wyvern form from before. And also peeking out from her hair were horns. They dipped lower back into her hair which is why they weren't noticed before.

"Very smart Human.." She answers in an almost casual tone even though it was clear by the look on her eyes that she was upset.

"...then you're a hybrid type?" Naxio mumbled out unconsciously.

She let out a scoff, offended clearly by his classification.

"Is that what you humans call one such as myself? How typical." She said with a glare.

A long pause fell between them as the groups anxiously watch the woman now unsure of the threat they face.

"..Calm yourself, hunters. I know are not the death I'd hoped for.." She says, mumbling the last part as she turns away from them.

Slowly but surely the tension ebbs away from the hunters. Kaldov however is still having a deep frown on his face as he watches Vuqun.

".....Why are you waiting for your own death?" He asks.

The rest of his group looks also to Vuqun with the same question in the back of their minds. She just lets out a scoff and shakes her head.

"It matters not... The true question is how did you all get past the barrier into these chambers." Vuqun questions as she eyes the group with suspicion.


She looks at Naxio with a rather complex expression on her face, as if to contemplate a tricky or confusing puzzle. Naxio looks back at her a bit confused.


"...Yes, you... your scent is .... different than the rest..." She says with her eyes peeled tightly on Naxio's form.

"M-my scent?" He says in puzzlement.

"Yes, you smell human...but there is another scent there. Something mixed in? But I cannot defer the smell.. how peculiar..." She said seeming amused at this disconnect she has discovered.

"Um sorry to interrupt but you mentioned a barrier before? What barrier are you talking about?" Moushira asks a bit meekly still unsure of how to react to the woman before her.

"You all passed through it to get into here... it must have felt like a wave a pressure sinking in from all sides."

"Oh, that. Well, I think we should be fine to get out after a good rest? I mean surely the barrier was strong but not impossible."

A small laugh bubbled from the Vuqun's lips as she looks over at them again. An almost mocking look on her face as she eyes them all.

"No, what you went through was merely the barrier realigning itself after the first one went through."

A heavy silence fell over the group as they all took in what Vuqun was saying. Moushira could very vividly remember the harsh pressure even as she pushed her body through in fear of what would befall Naxio. It wasn't pleasant and was hard enough to get through even running high on emotions as she was. And now from Vuqun to learn that it was merely a taste of what the barrier could actually do? A small shiver ran down her back at the thought.

"....Why is there a barrier around this place? A-and why are you here? I thought-.. or at least it was told us that Vuqun the Dark wyvern had died alongside Ashvel in the war 300 years ago!" Moushira said as she look back at Vuqun.

Vuqun didn't appear bother by the statement and just turn her head to the side.

"Hmm... it was my bitter wish to die with Ashvel" Vuqun mused, her eyes taking on a sadden glow.

Naxio had been watching her facial expression and saw the sadness, it was unlike one that you would more for a general or something that you didn't have strong ties to. Her expression was one of a heart-clenching sadness that was felt deep within and still even to this day seems like a fresh wound just about to fester.

"..... You loved him.." Naxio said without thinking.

His group turned to him in shock, even Vuqun look surprised for a second before her eyes narrowed in an intrigued look.

"....Yes....Ashvel wasn't only my king. He was also my heart..."

Vuqun's expression then morphed into a twisted sneer.

"And then you hunters came and took him from me."

The group was silent before Moushira spoke up.

"..It's a hunter's duty to stop Daemon, especially one as violent as Ashvel."

"Violent? Ha! Ha ha~!" Vuqun's laughter echoed in the chamber as she threw her head back.

Her laughter died down slowly until only a bitter smile was on her face.

"Violent you say?.... Perhaps to you, you hunters leave us no choice in the matter." Vuqun said before turning her head away. "Now be quiet, and let me sleep again hunters."

After that she seemed to turn over and rest herself against the stone ground. No bother at all about the cold floor now the red poles that still stuck from her back.

"Naxio.. look!" Moushira whispered as she motioned towards Vuqun.

Naxio looked over to try and see what she was seeing and noticed it almost immediately. With eh shock of Vuqun reveal, it was hard to have realized it at first. But now that Vuqun has deemed them not worth her time. Naxio couldn't help but notice the area around her. If she was still on her Wyvern form, it would have been almost completely covered but all around her symbols and sigils, marked with dark-colored ink and all leading back to Vuqun form, sitting smack dab in the middle.

This was the hex, and Vuqun was indeed the life force that gave the hex its life.

"....But why would she stay here? Continued to be the hex's heart?" Naxio whispers back to Moushira.

She shakes her head back at him and shrugs. Another mystery would seem. Kaldov since seeing that Vuqun had chosen to ignore them had walked back over to the barrier. Just a brief touch was enough to make him snap his hand back. The barrier was indeed strong and the magic potent as ever.

"...So are we really stuck here?"

Kaldov turns to the rest of the group with his usually stony face.

"The barrier is strong. It would take a lot of force to try and open or even get through. Even with us all together, I don't think we would be able to get through."

"Ahhhh, you've got to be kidding me?!" Moushira whines as she runs a hand through her hair in stress.

"We only have a few months left. We can't be stuck in here..." Naxio said in a soft voice, clearly feeling a bit guilty for getting his group stuck in this situation.

"Oh hey! Don't worry about it Naxio, we'll get through this no problem!" Moushira said as she sits down.

The rest of the group also sits however now that their attention wasn't higher focused on any immediate danger, they could feel the heavy onslaught of the Ying pressure. Before truly was merely just a small drip of the pressure could truly be. Every so often it felt like a hefty load pressing down hard on their bodies. The whispers were screams now. Gibberish the most of them, except Naxio. He could hear the voice loud and clear.

"Arghhh..,!" Naxio clenched at his head as the voice all screamed over one another.

"Shit, not again!" Moushira curses as she reaches out a hand to Naxio.

However, after a few seconds, only a diminutive glow wavered from her hand before dying down immediately.

"Damn it! Can you guys help?" She said turning to the other two.

Thakan gave her a helpless look, as he too after taking the full brute of the fireball attack was well exhausted. Kaldov however did move over and raise out a hand. His Yang glowed with a bright golden hue. Naxio who could feel the stubble warmth growing and the ringing in his head dying down opened his eyes weakly.

"K-Kaldov.." He mumbled, trying to shake his head and stop the other from expending any more of his Yang.

"Stop it and be quiet." Kaldov said as he gave Naxio a stern look and continued placing the shielding.

After about ten minutes, the glow dies down and Kaldov lets out a shaky huff of breath. It was notable to see the weariness on his face, a small beat of sweat going down to his neck.

"...That should help for now, but I'm not sure it will hold the whole time we sleep.." He admits with a slightly bitter expression.

"It's fine, as soon as we rest up a bit then we can take rounds. Just until we are fully rested and can properly get our barriers up." Moushira said a bit slowly as she could still feel the heavy pressure herself.

"G-guys..." Naxio tried to interject, feeling a heavy seed of guilt in his stomach at having to have his friend protect him in such a manner.

Bitter thoughts hounded his mind the whole time ever since yesterday, of how much weaker he is compared to everyone else or even how untrained he is. It feeds into his underlying hate for himself, like an ugly storm lashing out violently.

"Cut that out Naxio"

His head suddenly snapped to Mousrhia who had just yelled at him. Her gaze was unyielding and scolding, something similar to when his caretaker was still around if he ever got into trouble when he was young.

"I can partially hear your thoughts. Don't think for one second that any of this is your fault! We are all training to get better, each with their own strengths and weakness so don't even start trying to blame yourself or think anything negative about yourself. I won't stand for it." Moushira announces with a frown on her face, her eyebrow bunched up tightly.

Naxio who was at first going to do just that, stop himself short at hearing her whole rant. He couldn't help the small smile that comes to his face as he listens to her. Even with how upset she was he knew where she was coming from was something to better him. All he could do in response was nod. And as if that was confirmation for her, a smile came to her face as she looks back at him.

"Good then! So let's just try to rest, and as soon as you start to feel discomfort, let any one of us know okay? Don't you dare try to weather that pain or something dumb like that."

"..Hmm" Naxio nods again with a happy hum.

Fully satisfied by his response, she turns back to get herself set up for the night.

Unknowingly to them, there had been a pair of eyes on them watching carefully and with a small hint of intrigue. As the group of hunters recruits set down for a well-deserved rest, on the opposite side of them, Vuqun was watching them with an almost curious gleam in her eyes as the hunter readied for sleep.

Suddenly there was a shift in the air, it was stubble and if you weren't paying attention, you would have missed it. The pressure of Ying energy was shifting and diminishing. Moushira was the first to make a comment as she looked around.

"You guys feel that right? The pressure is melting away?"

"But why?" Naxio asked, not straining under the constant pressure end the hissing screams.

"I-I don't know?"

"...I manipulated the energy to another location…"

The group turns to Vuqun who had been silent the whole time after they met her. She is laying down still where she was before however this time she is turned toward them. Her ruby red eyes eyed them with a curiosity that was something similar to someone looking at an interesting or unique creature. Moushira frowns as she feels an uneasy gut feeling from the look that they are receiving.

"Why? Why help us? We are your swore enemy." Moushira questions Vuqun.

Vuqun doesn't appear to be bothered by her line of questions. Her head does tilt a little bit and a small smile comes to her face.

"Because it truly matters not. Whether you get a full night's sleep or not. You will be trapped here nonetheless. And come tomorrow, you will need your strength anyway.."

Vuqun's statement hung in the air for a bit before finally Moushira questioned her further, her frown deeping as she listened to the woman.

"W-what does mean by that?"

"Every day the hex resets. Meaning it draws its energy from whatever is powering it. The binding rods you see in me channel my energy, stirring my rage so that my Ying comes out more easily and feeds the hex. So I may not recognize you all when you wake."

"...You-you're going to attack us?!" Naxio said as he pieced together what Vuqun was insinuating.

A wolfish grin comes Vuqun's face as she stares at them.

"Most likely, and then you all will be dead, and I will wait once again for my long yearning death." She said, her grin tapering off at the end of her sentence.

At that daunting announcement, she turned away from the group of young hunters, apparently done with talking with them. However left with that uneasy news, the group of hunters wouldn't dare try to sleep now.

"Wh-Why tell us this?! What if we attack you now! Kill you before that time comes." Moushira yells at Vuqun, her anger painted clearly on her face.

"Moushira..!" Naxio said as he look to her, shocked at her suggestion.

Moushira was going to respond but then they all turned to hearing the loud and mocking laughter of Vuqun. She didn't turn but her body was shaking with laughter from hearing what Moushira just said.

"Haha… If you manage to kill me? Then I will happily join my beloved and the hex will fall."

That was all the reply that they received. The group merely looked back at Vuqun for a few moments, contemplating what to do. However, Vuqun didn't seem bothered or even try to move to attack them. As if she doesn't care one way or another what happens come the morning. Whether she dies or they die, none of that matters.

"...She's crazy.." Moushira mumbles to her group.

"We are not attacking her!" Naxio said to Moushira.

"Of course, we're not. I was just… upset…" Moushira said with a frown.

"....So what do we do.." Kaldov suddenly speaks up.

Both Naxio and Moushira look at him and then between each other.

"..We rest and then tomorrow…we'll figure out something." Naxio said.

The rest of the group nod and settle down for the night. It takes a long time but slowly and surely they all fall asleep.

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