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TOTGDK EP 19: Trial of the Hunter: Second Trial (3)

The group returned to the cave Naxio and Moushira had used as a base for the night. Naxio and Li-Ren's partner, Cedwyn helped Moushira back to the cave. Naxio had just finished bandaging Moushira. She was just barely conscious still, her eyes kept dipping closed every so often. Li-Ren and Cedwyn were a few feet away talking to each other.

"S-sorry about this Naxio." Moushira said with a small smile on her face.

"Don't apologize. Your foot should be fine in the morning but your arm may need a bit longer." Naxio said as he looked at her arm.

Her arm was straightened with a piece of wood and wrapped with a cloth. For the most part, Moushira was fully healed however her overall body was still in pain. There was fresh scaring on her side, it was still slightly pinkish. Naxio looks at the closed-up wound with a complicated look on his face.

".. I'm sorry about the scars." Naxio said softly.

Moushira lets out a rough laugh before looking at him with a tired but amused look.

"If I was worried about scars, I wouldn't have become a daemon hunter Naxio." She jokes.

She tries to laugh but it only comes out in a wince to which Naxio scolds her for overdoing. Moushira just waves her hand nonchalantly before looking at him again with a bit of curiosity in her eyes.

"Also I saw that our points went up. What happened with the daemon?" She asked

"It is dead, I accidentally lead it over a cliff. That's where Li-Ren and her teammate found me and save me." Naxio explains

Moushira looks at him a bit shocked that the turn of events that Naxio described. She then steals a glance over at Li-Ren and her teammate who were both still here with them and even helping them.

"...Why is she helping us? I mean the last team we interacted with just left us high and dry." Moushira says, her eyes scanning Li-Ren and her teammate for anything off.

Naxio however shakes his head and turns also the glance at Li-Ren. Li-Ren at this point wasn't too different than before the first trial. One of the major differences was her hair was a bit short and she appeared .... rough? Like in a battle-harden manner to speak. And given how the first trial was Naxio is sure he has a similar look to him.

"Li-Ren is... probably one of the few peoples in my clan who was truly nice to me." Naxio admits to Moushira.

Moushira is shocked but it doesn't show on her face and doesn't comment on what he said.

"She is an honorable type of person. She would never leave someone behind if they are in need." Naxio said in a committed tone.

Moushira just smiles at him.

"...I'm happy that you have someone who cared for you at home." She says suddenly.

Naxio looks back at her a bit shocked however doesn't comment further. He doesn't tell her that Li-Ren only really recently was amendable to him. Beyond her, no one else had treated him any differently than either a curse or just a burden. Moushira doesn't need to know just how sad Naxio's life really was. So instead he just smiles at her and nods.

"Rest, tomorrow should be better for you." He said.

She just nods and before long is drifting off to sleep.


He turns to see both Li-Ren and her teammate looking in his direction. Li-Ren then motions for him to join them.

"Thank you again Li-Ren. And you as well Cedwyn for helping us even though you really didn't need to." Naxio says sincerely.

Cedwyn just gives a nod while Li-Ren does smile at Naxio.

"Don't fret it Naxio. You are family after all." She said however she looks a bit uncomfortable as she realized her own words.

Naxio doesn't comment on her last bit given that it would make this relatively awkward. Li-Ren is quick to continue onward.

"We actually wanted to propose a deal to you. This is at least until your partner regains her mobility."

"Oh? What do you suggest?"

"A partnership between our teams. Even though it's a competition, I think we can still benefit from it." She suggests.

Naxio thinks about her words for a second. While logically it does make sense. Even though it is a competition, in a small group it can be more useful. However bigger groups would be too much chaos, everyone would be vining to get the last hits. The thing that is surprising him is that her partner is okay with it. Those in the Lorenia Clan usually have a rather arrogant outlook on things. As one of the more powerful great families, they do have the right to it.

"Oh um, that sounds good but.." Naxio trails off as he throws a look to Cedwyn.

Cedwyn doesn't appear to be offended by his uneasiness for the request. He even gives Naxio a good nature smile.

"I get why you are a bit uneasy, but I'm not like most of my clansmen. As long as we accomplish our goal, it doesn't matter to me." Cedwyn said with a shrug.

"Ah, I see." Naxio said, still shocked by how causal the other boy was.

Li-Ren looked amused between the two before taking on a more serious look.

"You and I would partner up and go out to find more Daemons. Cedwyn agreed to stay back and keep an eye on Moushira. This way our teams will still be making points even while we are technically down a person each." Li-Ren explained.

Naxio looks again to Cedwyn just to make sure this was fine with him. Cedwyn nodded simply and give Naxio an agreeable expression. Naxio then turns back to Li-Ren who is looking at him expectingly.

"Is this something that you find amendable?" She asks.

"Y-yes! If you both don't mind then yes, I would be happy to help." Naxio agrees.

"Perfect, then tomorrow we will begin. I look forwards to seeing how much you have improved Naxio." Li-Ren said with a smile.

Naxio smiles back to her but can't help the nervous energy building just below the surface of now knowing Li-Ren would be watching him closely. After all, she was once his teacher. After that decision was made they continued to talk for a while longer. Discussing various strategies and other things along that vein, Naxio even inputted a few helpful tips himself. Slowly but surely they all fell into a moderately peaceful sleep.

Soon the next day rolls around, the sun bright and the weather thankfully clear.

"Naxio, to your left!" Li-Ren calls out.

Naxio was fortunately quick enough to turn himself to dodge out of the way of a medium-sized Daemon beast. The day thus far for the pair was eventful. The agreed plan was to stick to the lower point daemon, for now, they would divide the points as equally as possible. It was already midday and Naxio could feel the heavy toll weighing on his body. Currently, they were being attacked by what appeared to be a pack of beast-type daemons. They appeared like deer however their horns are pure black and sharp and between the two eyes was a third one resting just on their forehead. Their fur was dark-colored and has an odd wisp-like manner to them. Like its body was slightly fading into nothingness like a spirit. The one attacking Naxio let out a loud noise, a roar of some sort, before charging Naxio again.

Naxio however had been ready this time.

He quickly strums a few notes, that blast that rips through the beast is almost like an explosion in itself. Wounds appear all over its body from the attack and it's sent tumbling into its remaining group. They had dealt with a good portion of the pack already but the Daemon just grew more and more aggressive.

"Now Naxio!" Li-Ren yells out.

Together they launched their attacks. One by one the daemon was killed until finally, the battle was over. Naxio lets out a sigh as he sits down a bit exhausted. Li-Ren on the other hand is a bit winded but not by much as she looks down to her tracker. A sold 85 blinks back at her from her tracker. She then looks over at Naxio.

"How are you doing?"

Naxio looks down at his tracker, a 93 blinks back at him.

"9-93... maybe some good progress.." He said a bit out of breath.

He should have realized that hunting with Li-Ren was going to be difficult. If there was one thing for certain he learned about her from being her student is Li-Ren was a strict teacher. She didn't believe in 'I can't' or anything of that sort. She pushed you to your limit again and again until it wasn't your limit. And then she started anew. During training, it push Naxio many times to the point of exhaustion but he did understand why. But now that it isn't necessarily in a training scene, he is remembering how grueling it was.

"We will rest for an hour and then start again." She said as she also sat down beside him.

Naxio teared up on the inside at knowing that this was far from over. As they sat in silence just watching the nature around them, there was a calming feeling that washes over them.

"This place is certainly beautiful." Li-Ren said as her eyes gaze around.

"Hmm, I'm honestly surprised that they are even allowing the exam to take place here. I thought it was strictly a sacred place?" Naxio said as he took in his surrounding as well.

"From what I've heard it's a temporary thing. I guess they didn't want to have more incidents happen like in the 1st trial." Li-Ren said.

Naxio looks at her and wants to say something but thinks better after remembering the look on her face when they last spoke of that. An hour passes by like that is calming peace.

"Alright, let's begin again." She said as she rose up from the ground.

Naxio nods and also stands up. However just before they are about to do anything, a loud boom echo in the distance, and the ground rumbles ever so slightly under the ham. Both look around a bit in confusion and also a concern. A flock of birds suddenly flies out from some trees nearby, obviously in some state of panic.

"Wh-What was that?!" Naxio asks.

Li-Ren doesn't get the chance to respond as another boom sounds however this time there is a voice just faintly accompanying it. The two look to each other before quickly running off in the direction of the noises. They keep the trees mostly, not trying to attract attention just in case it's a trap of some sort. What they find however isn't like anything they would ever expect.

" this?" Li-Ren says with a complex look on her face.

There had to have been at least 8 or so teams all working together fighting against what appeared to be a large Daemon bear. Dark-colored fur blanked its form, deep red eyes glaring harshly at the recruit around it. Razor-sharp claws and fangs flashes around as it attacked everyone in sight. A clear red tracker symbol was just around its neck. The battlefield was heavy damage, with snaps trees, and unturned grass and dirt pilled up all around. However what really was odd was there was another team off the side, not helping at all, just watching the fight below them as they were situated on a bolder which overlooked the area. Naxio was shocked to see who it was after finally identifying them after a few minutes.

"Wait, is that..?"

Li-Ren turned to him a bit confused.

"Do you know them?" She said motioning to the team which apparently was leading the group of other hunters to attack.

"Uh.. not exactly." Naxio said with a bit of an uneasy look on his face.

It wasn't that he knew of this person in particular but he did meet him. Although it had been a long time since he had last seen this particular person, the arrogant look on his face didn't change. There standing at the top of the bolder was the familiar form of Ven from the Lorencia Clan. He was together was someone from Cendar clan. He was the one Moushira almost got into an argument about Thakan if Naxio remembers correctly. Both were looking down passively at the field below them as if they were disconnected from the brutal fight taking place.

"What the hell is this?" Li-Ren said, anger pooling in her voice.

"I think...they... making them fight for them.." Naxio gather almost instantly.

It was clear by looking at some of the recruits this wasn't something that they volunteered for. The beast was clearly strong, a single swing of its claw was enough to swat at least a few away. The battle may have at one point appeared even was slowly slipping. The beast was injured however the combined attack did do something at that. But it was clear it wasn't going to be enough.

"This cannot go on. They will be slaughtered!" Li-Ren said, already moving forward.

Naxio was nervous, the situation wasn't ideal, and even if they both joined it was unknown if that it would make a difference. But he swallowed down his nerves as he knew he wasn't going to just sit by idly! So he joins her as they race towards the battle.

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