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TOTGDK EP 4: Dawn of the Hunt (Part 4)

The sound of heavy rainfall was what woke Naxio. His eyes open slowly to a familiar sight of dark wooden walls and ceiling. He was back in the Dancing Lilac, his room to be exact. As the heavy blanket of sleep falls away, the sensation of sore bones sets in.


"You're awake.."

Naxio's eyes slowly drift to where the voice sounded and was surprised to see the stern face of Li-Ren looking back at him. She was seated across from his bed in her traditional robes. Her face appeared wore slightly like she had been waiting for him to wake but Naxio couldn't be sure.


Naxio's voice was rough with disuse and his words were choked out in pain. He winches in discomfort at the soreness of his throat.

"Keep quiet. You're still recovering..."

Naxio nods and keeps quiet though it's clear he has questions from the expression on his face. Li-Ren seems to know exactly what he wants to ask and answers.

"The Naje-feh clan girl is fine. She should be back home at this point."

Naxio lets out a breath that he didn't even realize he was holding before looking back to Li-Ren. He tries to scan her face to see if there was anger or frustration, did she pass or fail the Dawn of Hunt?

Li-Ren, ever attentive, knew instantaneously what he was trying to do.

"...Don't worry about the Dawn of Hunt. Due to the incident, the selection has been delayed."

Naxio nods once again, the sudden pull of sleep once again tries to grasp at him. Li-Ren could see he was struggling to stay awake and she let out a small huff.

"Go back to sleep Naxio, you did well."

As Naxio's eyes drift back close even against his wishes, he has more questions but it is clear his body felt differently. A small but soft smile pulling to Li-Ren's face was the last thing he remembers before finally falling back to sleep.


The news of the Dawn of Hunt selection results came three days after on a warm sunny day. Naxio, was who had recovered from his injuries, was cleaning the weeds out from around his house. It was a task that was normally assigned to servants however no one comes to his section of the compound. Whether this is due to the countless rumor about him and his infamous mother or an order from the Clan Leader, Naxio has never figured out or even care enough to.

"Naxio Yi!"

Naxio's head snaps up at the call of his name. Walking quickly in the direction of his home was three older women, two servants, and a Mizune clan member. These two servants were dressed in traditional servant garbs however it would be noted that they did have slightly more elegant material and colors than most servants. One of them was holding a sun umbrella for the woman in front of them, her grip never faltered even with how swiftly they were moving. The woman at the front gaze was trained in front of her with an extravagant and decorative fan waving in her face. Her face is smooth but pale and adorned with makeup, her dark purple-colored eyes were narrowed on Naxio's form. Her long black hair was loose and flowed down her back like silk. Her robes were mixes of dark purple, pinks, and splashes of greens. Jewelry decorated her hair in the form of lilac flowers. Naxio recognized who this woman was almost immediately and bows to her.

"Ah, Auntie Lou-Ren! Good morning!"

Lou-Ren's eyes gazed down at him from behind her fan, and even though her mouth couldn't be seen, it was clear she was displeased. However, if this was due to the fact she had to come to his side of the compound or just because of how dirty he appears was currently, Naxio couldn't tell. But with his Aunt Lou-Ren, there wasn't any telling. She generally has a negative opinion on anything that isn't what she wants to do.

"Yes, yes, good morning. Hurry up now, the Clan Leader is requesting your presence!"

Her hasty reply only further Naxio's assumption of her displeaser. She didn't want to be here talking to him that much is clear. However, before he was able to go into his home to change, she snaps at him.

"No no, just come as you are! The Clan leader will not be kept waiting!!"

She huffs out her statement, and slams shut her fan. Naxio inwardly sighs and dusts himself off to the best of his ability. With a twirl of her heels, she and her servant walk off, fully expecting Naxio to follow and so he did. It didn't take long to arrive at the Singing Springs however he was surprised to see not only his female cousins but also their parents all seated. He watches as Lou-Ren walks over to Li-Ren with a small smile before seating herself. Naxio takes a place at the most left-hand side, far enough away from the rest of them but close enough so that he could hear.

"Clan Leader Mayu-Jan has entered!"

Everyone bows as Clan Leader Mayu-Jan walks into the Singing Springs. She seats herself and scans over at all of them before her eyes seem to pause on Naxio. Her gaze only pauses for a second but it was more than enough to place a dark feeling in his heart. Something has happened and more than likely it was his fault...

"The results of the Dawn of Hunt arrived this morning. I called you all today to announce the results."

There is a short murmur before she calls the group to order. Ryou walks over to her with 3 decorative scrolls in hand with the symbol of the Daemon Hunters on it. Naxio assumes these are for his cousins without a doubt, but he is still slightly curious as to why he is present?

"Li-Ren, you are first."

Li-Ren moves immediately towards the Clan Leader, lowering her head and raising out her hands to receive her scroll. She then walks back, a proud smile on her face. Her mother Lou-Ren who was watching like a hawk puffs out her chest in pride ready to gloat as soon as this meeting is over.

"Su-Len, you are next."

Su-Len perks up a bit nervously and walks over. She receives her scroll with a wide excited smile which she tries to tamper down with zero success. Her mother and father look proudly at her as she returns to them, a small skip in her step. Lastly was Aijah, whose face was cheerful and eager. Her mother and father were looking on as if she had already gotten her scroll. However the expression the Clan Leader gave while gripping the final scroll gave everyone pause. The Singing Springs grew silent, only the soothing sound of water flowing could be heard. Everyone grew distinctly nervous as the silence stretched on and that sinking feeling came back with a vengeance within Naxio.

Something was positively wrong.


For a moment, everyone appeared either confused or shocked, as if believing the Clan Leader was joking or even possibly misspoke, even Naxio was looking around confused. It wasn't until her head turns to him, eyes burning with hatred as she spats out again.

"Naxio Yi, I will not call you again!"

Naxio almost stumbles to stand however as he walks over to the Clan Leader, he couldn't help but feel the hot judgment stares of those around him. Being before her was worse than anything he ever could have imagined. Her eyes were staring down at him as if he were an ant before her, small and irrelevant. She nearly threw the scroll at him before barking out in a loud voice.

"I didn't give you my blessing so while I do not know who dares give you this approval I will-!!"

"I did mother..."

Everyone turns to the new voice and there was a mix of shocked gasps. Walking towards the Singing Springs, her fox mask at her side was Yulen Li. She was still dressed in her Night Hunter wardrobe with her arms folded behind her back. Her face finally revealed and it was almost a spitting image of Mayu-Ren. Her eyes were a deep shade of wine purple with her black hair pulled into a high ponytail that rests on her midback. There was an uproar almost immediantly, Aijah's parents being the loudest.

"How dare you! Have you forgotten what his mother has done?!"

"You would go against the wishes of our Clan Leader!?"

"My daughter deserves this more than that boy!"

Naxio shrinks under the weight of his family's hate-filled words. Each felt close enough to a physical hit and his poor heart grew heavy. It was no secret in the Mizune Clan of everyone's dislike of his mother for the crimes she committed and to honest, never would he believe that he would have the chance to become a Daemon Hunter due to that.

Mayu-Ren's eyes seem to stare straight through her youngest daughter as if seeing her for the very first time truly. She raises a hand to silence the complaints and yelling before addressing Yulen Li.

"Why would you go against my wishes? Did I need to make it an order?"

Yulen Li stands as steady as a statue, not even faltering under the withering glare of her mother.

"..No, mother."

It was silent for a few moments as everyone seems to be dancing on the knife edge. It has been common practice that everyone addresses May-Ren by her formal title as Clan Leader, even her daughters have followed this rule to a fault. Everyone except for Yulen Li that is. Mayu-Ren's face seems to clench up as her anger rises but she didn't yell or even call Yulen Li out for her break in customs.

"Then why would you give him approval? Aijah has trained years for this opportunity, her abilities go far beyond that his!"

"And she will have her chance to prove herself next year."

Everyone's eyes were jumping back and forth between the two. The tension in the air felt so thick that one could choke on it. Everyone could sense a fight brewing and could only watch helplessly on.

"Yulen Li, I asked you why! It would be smart to answer me."

Mayu-Ren words were hissed out in a hushed tone and for a moment Yulen Li's gaze falls on Naxio.

"He proved himself."


The Mizune Clan Leader only glares back in response, clearly not expecting that reply.

"He acted bravely and fought an enemy well beyond his hopes of winning. The Daemon Hunter core needs those who will fight even if all seems doomed. We face death almost every day. To take on someone who we know is unprepared is dooming ourselves."

Her words, though spoken in a faint tone, were unfriendly and stated in a matter of fact manner. Aijah's parent was less than pleased, her mother, in particular, Lajan was upset and voiced as much.

"How dare you Yulen! My daughter is more than qualified to join! Who do you think you are?!"

Yulen Li spares her a look, however, her face never changes.

"Lajan, while I'm sure Aijah may have the ability that is acceptable for you. The Daemon Hunter Core is more than some training ground. Aijah is young and still needs to understand more about the world. So take some time out of your busy day to teach her, sister."

If looks could kill, the glare on Lajan's reddening face only could strike Yulen Li down where she stood. Just as another argument was about to fester Clan Leader Mayu-Ren called to order.

"Enough... So you say the boy is qualified so take it as that. For this point onwards, he is your responsibility. The Mizune Clan doesn't tolerate failure or embarrassment. He will not bring the name of the Mizune Family down, am I understood?"

Yulen Li bows to her with respect but says nothing further. With one last glare at Naxio, the Clan Leader turns and leaves with a huff. Her servants following behind her silently as mice. Yulen Li also leaves just as quick, not even giving on passing glance to the rest of her family. As soon as Yulen Li's form becomes a speck in the distance Lajan lets out a frustrated huff.

"That bitch Yulen Li! She may be my sister but she has always acted like she better than everyone since she became a Night Hunter?!"

Lajan's husband tries to calm her but to no avail. Lajan isn't one to be humbled down from anger, she must first vent out or else her poor temper will continue throughout the day.

"She dares tell me? ME?! Just because I choose to be a mother instead of a Daemon Hunter she thinks she has the authority to talk down to me?!"

Lajan then suddenly turns to Naxio who in an instant shrinks back. The acceptance scroll is clenched tight in his hands and his head dips down in shame.

"And you..! You must have cheated?! Just like that wicked mother of yours using cheap tricks and dark magic to-"

"Lajan, my sister that's enough!"

Naxio looked close to a rabbit caught between a preditor and a hard spot, not sure whether to run or just accept fate. He has never suffered the full extent of his aunt Lajan's temper and is scared witless. Lou-Ren who had interrupted her sister's rant was giving her a scolding look as if she said something forbidden. Lajan gritted her teeth before turning and walking off in a loud huff, her husband and Aijah followed quickly. Lou-Ren let out a sigh, fanning herself a few times before looking towards Naxio with a disdainful frown.

"My my what a mess you've made. I suggest keeping out of her way for now and running back to your home."

Naxio still shook from the earlier outburst quickly bows and scurries away. It didn't take long for the news to spread throughout the compound, from servant to attendee, within a few days everyone knew about the selection mess. And if Naxio has thought life was complicated beforehand now things were much worst.

Ever since he was young, he has known harsh looks and cold gaze. His family has also considering him a "cursed child" due to his mother's dark ties. The only one who truly cared for him was his mother's old servant, Baja. Before however he at least has some kindness from some servants however now everyone's eyes are unkind and disgusted. Lajan's vindictiveness has no bounds.

She had gone around telling rumors of how Naxio cheated her daughter out of a spot and other nasty things. But Naxio was honestly expecting this sort of thing from her. She was also this way even from when he was young. So Naxio took his aunt Lou-Ren's advice to heart and stay low and just studied up.


In a two month time, those chosen from the Daemon Hunter core will return to the compound to begin training and he was already well behind most of the trainees. He needs to at least catch up if he going to be able to prove himself.

"But how am I even going to do that?"

Currently, Naxio was his training area in the forest just outside the compound. Originally, it was a hunting ground that his caretaker brought him to as she did with his mother. She would train him as much as she could but given that she couldn't channel Yang as he did, her training was limited. Falan-shi was floating diligently at his side, it let out small sounds every so often in a playful manner.

"Falan-shi I don't have time to play right now. I have to get stronger!"

"That is true, you don't have time. So we best make most of the time we have hmm?"

Naxio's head snaps in the direction of the mysterious yet familiar voice. Falan-shi floats before him like a shield, ready to do battle with the intruder.


Li-Ren steps closer to him in the clearing, she is dressed down in more plain attire. Most likely for training given the wear and tear of the outfit.

"Stand up and give me an attack."


At first, Naxio is conflicted, not sure if he is reading her words correctly. Given how things have been going, he was vastly uncertain of where he stood with her. She scowls before giving him an annoyed huff.

"If we are going to get anywhere, I need to know how much you can do. Now form up."

He then scrambled to meet her order, and with a flash from Falan-shi, he attacks. Without even missing a beat, Li-Ren's Komabue is summoned and deflects his attack with a simple flick of her wrist. Li-Ren seems even more disappointed after his attack and makes that known.

"Weak, there is no confidence in your attack at all. And to make matters worse, you lose control over your Yang at the very end of your notes!"

After the thorough dressing down, Naxio flinches back. Li-Ren who watches him for a moment lets out a sigh and crosses her arms over her chest.

"Naxio, I'm not trying to put you down however you are well behind all others. As you know the Mizune Clan uses instruments to channel our Yang, it's been our way since our very first Leader. One cannot simply play notes recklessly or without confidence or you will lose power and control."

"I-I know that-"

"Then attack again!"

And so he did, over and over again. His attacks were all ineffective but in time grew more confident. After about half an hour however his strength wavier out. He slums over in deep shaky huffs, a cold sweat breaking out over his body. Li-Ren, who still appeared displeased with his overall power, did at least give a nod in his attempts.

"Hmm, it's a start. From now until we leave I will hone you as much as possible. I will not be kind so you better be prepared."

Naxio nods eagerly. That was how he spent the remaining months. Li-Ren didn't lie in her statement, she was a strict and demanding teacher. Pushing him from daybreak until evening to train and hone his skills. Every night he would feel his body practically screaming in exhaustion however he knew this was a prime opportunity not to be wasted.

Two months came and went in a flash, Naxio doing his very best to improve under Li-Ren's watchful teachings. The morning that they all left was cool with a slightly ominous wind. When they arrive back at the Daemon Hunter Compound, Naxio can only look on in wonder still in disbelief that he is able to get this chance. With a heavy sense of determination in his heart, he begins his Daemon Hunter training.

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