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TOTGDK EP 20: Trial of the Hunter: Second Trial (4)

"Get down!" Naxio yells out as he quickly summons Falan-shi.

He quickly summons a barrier around a recruit who was just about to take the brunt of a claw attack by the monstrous bear. The barrier lessens the blow but unfortunately, the overall force of the attack still sent them back a distance. Li-Ren was quick to assess the battle and pulls her flute out and played out an aggressive tune. Her Yang coils around her like an angry snake before lashing out at the beast. The giant bear stumbles back from the blow but is quick to recover. Its eyes were now narrowed on the two new arrivals before it.

"Naxio, play 'Song of the Warrior'!" Li-Rin calls out to Naxio.

He looks at her stunned for a few seconds. There were two reasons for this: The 1st one was the song of the warrior something she just taught him during their hunting session. There are many different songs that the Mizune clan is famous for. The song of the warrior was almost as much of a trademark as the 'song of calming' for the Mizune clan. It embeds the person being cast on additional Yang from the castor which in turn enables  beyond the realm of the mortal plane of strength, agility and

The second reason for his shock was that she trusted him to support her. The song of the warrior takes a portion of its power with whomever the song if for. He didn't really believe that what he could give would be significant enough.

But she believes in him.

Naxio doesn't let his anxiety compromise his abilities this time. He quickly but confidentially strums the Song of Warrior.

The effects were almost instant, his strength felt like it was diminishing but he stood steady. There was a sudden glow forming around Li-Ren as she suddenly picked up speed and launched herself toward the beast. With a high-pitched tone, a slash formed through the air and attacked the beast.

With a loud boom, the hit was clean and even knocked the beast back. The beast was quick to recover though and was then locked in a violent battle between Li-Ren and itself. Naxio then yells over to the other recruits who at the moment we're watching in awe.

"Hurry! She will need help to take that thing down!" Naxio commanded.

The other recruits instead shook off their shellshock and joined in the fight. The battle itself was long and brutal. By the time it was done, the night was just starting to creep in. With one last note, Li-Ren took down the beast. With a loud and echoing thud, the monster fell to the ground motionless at last.

As if on cue, everyone else also stumbled to the ground completely exhausted after the long brutal battle that took place. A moment of peaceful silence fell over the battle tore field.

That moment however was only just a few seconds.

"Who the hell do you think you are?!"

Naxio turns to see the Cendar boy from the rock overhead walking down, a stormy look on his face as he glares at Li-Ren. Naxio could also see Ven trailing behind but upon recognizing Li-Ren, looks notably nervous. Which wasn't really all that surprising given her reputation among the recruits. Li-Ren turns to the approaching party with a sneer and frown.

"What does it matter?" She says in a haughty tone.

The Cendar boy is now directly in front of her, standing just a head taller.

"You took our kill."

"Ha, your kill? You didn't participate. What part of that was your kill?" She said with an unamused look.

A sudden burst of warmth exploded from him. The large ax which had originally been slug over his shoulder ignited. His eyes blazing with anger and his body posture was coiled tight.

"So the Mizune clan is still as arrogant as always. Maybe you need to be brought down a bit?" He said, clearing and trying to bait her.

Sensing a fight brewing, Naxio tries to interject.

"H-hey Li-Ren!" Naxio called out to her.

"Oh~? Do you think you have what it takes to take on someone from the Mizune clan? You call us arrogance? How hypocritical." She said rising to his bait with one of her own.

Her Yang already starting to form around her, the flute floating just behind her like a watchful guardian. Naxio quickly moves to her side and gets her attention.

"Li-Ren, I don't think this is a great idea." He instances again.

Li-Ren is still glaring at the Cendar boy, seemingly hearing nothing of what Naxio said. But after a few moments, she relaxes and lets out a sigh. Her Yang also calms, her flute floating back into it resting spot at her side.

"Hmm, your right. There is no reason to waste my time on people not worth it" She said as she turned away.

Naxio couldn't help to nervous sweat that drips down as he glances quickly at the Cendar boy. He was fuming but fortunately, that was all. He didn't appear like he was going to attack at least. The rest of the other recruits had varied injuries and were tending to themselves the best they could. Slowly the field cleared, every recruit giving a wide berth to Li-Ren and the other Cendar boy.

"You, what is your name girl?" The Cendar boy asks rather rudely.

"And why should I give you my name? Don't you know the simple rules of engagement?" Li-Ren says casually not even stopping.

Seeing her blatant disregard for him, his Yang coils around him like a simmering fire.

"My name is Yodu! Remember it well!" He yells out.

At first, Naxio thought Li-Ren was going to totally ignore Yodu completely as she hadn't stopped moving or even turn to him. But after a few more steps, she suddenly stops.

"..Li-Ren." Was all she said before continuing on.

Naxio was quick to follow her and by the time the pair returned to the cave, night had fully set in the fatigue from battle had sunk into their bones. They were fortunately greeted by their teammates who looked both shocked and a bit concerned to see how roughed up they were. After explaining the situation however a dark look passed over both Moushira and also Cedwyn.

"The Cendar clan is certainly filled with wild cards." Cedwyn said.

"That's a nice way of saying they are all assholes." Moushira says in a huff.

She looked much better than yesterday and seemed to have been able to put weight on her leg now. Naxio could help but feel happy at this progress, he was quite worried that she was badly hurt.

"Well, I guess it makes sense though for those of the main clans to take as much advantage as possible. Ah, no offense of course?" Moushira said before remembering who her company was.

The rest of the group however did agree with her statement. The main clans have already been rather arrogant, some more than others. Power made them in control and it was all too easy for them to use their status to control other weaker clans.

"But that was rather risky of a plan even with that large of a group. That beast was too strong to mess around with." Li-Ren said, her expression clouded in thought.

Naxio also thought back to the battle, a small shiver going down his spine at the thought. That beast was the largest he had ever seen. Even larger than the giant snake that he encounters in the dawn of the hunter trial.

"..And given how calm the Cendar boy was, I could only gather that he wasn't as weak as I originally thought." She said with a frown.

"..It would make sense. He was trying to wear the beast down to get the killing blow." Naxio said as he thought it was all.

"Ahh, still annoys me that they were so arrogant as to call you guys out like they were wrong!!" Moushira said with a frustrated sigh.

"Don't let it weigh on your mind, hopefully, we would encounter them again. Either way, the points given were more than worth it." She said as she show her badge.

She was now up to 140 points, at least over a fourth of the way to completion.

"..Although this trial is a bit different than the last, I think it will be doable to get to 500 in the 4 months."

Naxio looks at her in awe at her strength and also her confidence. She doesn't doubt for a second she would achieve her goal and isn't afraid of the unknown dangers she will surely face.

"We should rest, for now, it's been a long day." She said looking over at Naxio.

Exhaustion which was at bay from the battle before had been chipping away at him. He nods in agreement with her and they all fall into a pleasant sleep. Over the next 2 days, fortunately beyond Daemon hunting, everything was relatively calm and peaceful. Li-Ren even used this time to train Naxio further, giving tips and further pushing him to get stronger.

After these two days, Moushira finally fully recovered.

"Ahhh finally!! I felt like was going to turn into a vegetable if I was stuck staying still any longer!" She said stretching out her body outside of the cave.

The rest of the group was also outside just watching her bask in the sunlight for once in a while. Naxio turns to Li-Ren with a gentle smile.

"Thank you again Li-Ren and Cedwyn. You guys really helped us out."

Cedwyn just nodded to him while Li-Ren responded back with an agreeable hum.

"We are going to head towards the north. There are too few higher-point Daemon's left around here. It would take too long to get the number of points needed if we stay here longer." She said as she looked towards the north.

She then turns back to Naxio.

"Be careful alright?"

A warm feeling bubbled into Naxio's stomach at her concerned words. He nods to her eagerly.

"I will be safe!"

A sudden weight on his back almost makes him stumble forward. Moushira gives her a smile as she hugs Naxio from behind.

"Don't worry about him! We'll watch each other's backs!" She said with a wide smile.

Li-Ren gave an almost smile to them before nodding and then leaving. Cedwyn followed behind her as silently as a mouse and with that, Moushira and Naxio were alone.

"Your cousin is pretty cool Naxio!" Moushira said

"Haha, yes. Li-Ren has always been one I looked up to." Naxio replied.

The pair then decided to start moving toward the east. It took a while before they started encountering Daemons but as soon as they did, it was relentless.

"I guess no one been over this way yet. We are in luck!" Moushira said as she looks around at the corpses of the beast Deamons slain.

"Yeah..." Naxio said as he looks around.

He couldn't help but feel something weird. This feeling cropped up during their fight and has been last already for the past 5 minutes. It felt like someone was watching them but even sense around him revealed nothing. But he just couldn't help the weird feeling he was getting.

"Hey, Naxio!"

His head snaps to Moushira who was giving him a look.

"What's wrong? You sense something?" She said as she also looks around and feels out with her Yang.

"...I think so? But I'm not sure what is it.." He said.

Visually he couldn't see anything and nothing was being picked up by his Yang. But that feeling was just not going away.

"Well, we will stay vigil and just keep moving. Staying in one spot too long may be too dangerous." She said while looking back at the way they came.

Naxio nods to her and they continue onward. However a couple of hours afterward, in that same spot, something did appear.

At first, it appeared like a shadow come to life, the dark swirled around before forming a shape. A figure, a feminine one at that. The shadows slowly dripped down revealing the figure underneath like ink. It was a woman however it was obvious given her attire she wasn't a Daemon Hunter. A dark-colored expensive-looking kimono hugged her form. She almost appeared human at a quick glance but it didn't take long to notice something not quite right. Two large horns cured around the side of her head, dipping into her hair slightly. She looks up to the sky, taking a deep drag of the pipe she carried between her fingers. A cold expression on her face as she seems to take in her surroundings for a few seconds before letting out a sigh. She then turns her head forward.

"....Now..where do I look?" She posed the question.

Suddenly she melted away into a large cluster of black-colored butterflies. The only sound that remained was the flapping beat of little wings. And just as mysteriously as she came, all was silent once again.

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