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TOTGDK EP 6: Blood and Blade (Part 2)

"...Spiritual energy is formed in all living creatures. From small to large, in the plants and even in the animals."


The voice pauses and a figure turns to the apprentice hunter seated before them. The figure was an older male. He is of average height, with a long dark brown beard and hair which is swept back and reaches his mid-back. His eyes were forest green and narrowed as he scans the room. His Hunter robes were longer than average and flowing, clothes His name is Yan Feng, a prominent member of the Kai Shin Clan. From his glance, he could tell that most of his students were either inattentive or even on the crust of nodding off! Only a select few were gazing with a passion for learning in their eyes, writing down every word which left his lips. He lets out a sigh and continues on.


"..This brings me to my next subject. Ying and Yang. Both are spiritual energies however they are opposite as night and day. Yang is pure and unveiling, not all people can use Yang, those who can as you all know are called "Daemon Hunters". While the other, Ying is vile and corrupt. Ying energy can only be used by Daemons and pollutes the air and is able to drain life from simple creatures."


He scanned the class again, most of the students seemed to have perked up at this subject.


"Daemons are powerful in regards to their manipulation of Ying just as a Daemon Hunter is for their control of Yang. But Daemons are interesting creatures themselves, appearing in many different manners and forms."


He walks back to the front of the class, turns, and then scans over the class again. A small smirk forms on his face.


"Can anyone tell me all the different forms Daemon can take?"


There is a small murmur in the class. Naxio who had been sitting quietly also looks around. One person raises their hand and Yan Feng nods to them. The person stands, it is the young master from the Lorecia Clan, Ven. He bows before speaking, a smug look on his face.


"There are three types of Daemons. The first is the spirit type, formless and usually weak however if fed enough malicious emotions are able to possess the bodies of humans. These are corrupted spirits of those who have passed on and have in the past practices the uses of Yin."


His words were confident and detailed. He continued on without even a pause.


"The next type is the beast type. The beast type is animals that have been corrupted by Yin and have their forms altered. Beast types are usually average in terms of power however can become strong if allowed to live on without being dealt with."


He seems to pause for a second before continuing. His voice falling a bit and his tone growing colder.


"The last type is the Hybrid type. The Hybrid type is a monster that has both human and animal-like traits combined. Their physical forms can vary between more human-like or more animal-like. They're classified as high ranking and are usually the strongest of all Daemon types. Given that their strengths are mixed with that of an animal and a human, they are more lethal than all other and must be eliminated on sight."


His words were almost hissed out in a manner show his disgust and anger. It didn't take a genius the read between the lines and understand his hatred of this type. Especially given the rumors that his eldest brother was killed by a Daemon of this exact description. The room felt tense, everyone was shifting a bit uncomfortably. Yan Feng's gaze seemed to look right through Ven however he didn't respond immediantly for a few seconds before giving the young boy a nod.


"While you are correct that those three are types of Daemon, there is, in fact, a 4th remaining type."


Ven looks confused as he sits back down and the room seemed to envelop into whispers as everyone was clearly perplexed by Lead Hunter Yan Feng's statement. Yan Feng, however, wasn't really surprised. But just as he was about to explain to the class, a hand goes up in the back. He looks towards the student and is surprised to see Naxio with his hand raised weakly. He almost didn't notice the boy given how meek he appeared and how he always seems to make himself appear even smaller while in class. Yan Feng then nods to him, curious to see if the boy truly did know the answer.


Naxio stood, now at the center of the class attention, he was obviously nervous. He bows quickly before opening his mouth to speak.


"Um.. t-the last type is the H-Humanoid type, sir."


A cluster of whispers falls over the class as everyone looks between each other. Given that Naxio's answer had such a tone of uncertainty, surely he must be wrong? Lead Hunter Yan Feng had also not made any motion to confirm or deny it.


"Humanoid type? I've never heard of it..."


"...Yeah, yeah he must be wrong right?"


Though his classmates were trying to whisper, Naxio could still hear it clearly. His head dips a bit as uncertainty filters into his heart. Maybe he did get it wrong? However, to the shock of basically everyone, a smile appears on the Lead Hunter's face. Yan Feng's gaze seems to pierce right through Naxio but his eyes are warm and had a spark of pride in them.


"That is correct."


The class goes quiet if only for a moment before a stacking amount of questions tumble out to which Yan Feng stops with only a raised hand. At this point Naxio had taken his seat, both relieved that he was correct but also curious about this particular type. What he did learn of them was limited.


"I will explain. The Humanoid type is indeed the last form that a Daemon can take. In this form, the difference between a Daemon and a Human is almost none. What sets them apart are the horns on their heads and their dark eyes. Those two traits are in all non-beast and Spirit types which make it easier for us to distant them from normal humans."


The class was completely enraptured with this lesson, many of them have not heard of this particular breed or at least not have enough information. However, the notion that there was a type of Daemon so similar to humans did seem to off-put some of the students. Yan Feng continued after a quick glance through the class.


"This type is almost always promoted to becoming the next Daemon king or queen. It has happened so many times before and will continue as long as these types exist."


A hand raises in the back, it's a young girl with amber-colored eyes, pale skin, and short coal-black hair.


"Why is that?"


"The reason behind this is the simple fact that Daemons are more like humans than most assume. They argue and generally are territorial creatures. They are unorganized, to put it into simpler terms. During this time, it is easier to control and weed out their numbers. However, under the rule of a King or Queen, they become focused and lethal."


"So is the King or Queen like royalty?"


The girl asks, still a bit confused by the prospect. Yan Feng lets out a small chuckle and shakes his head.


"No, nothing like that. Daemon only understands one thing and that is power. The King or Queen isn't placed there by some sense of nobility or even a yerning of loyalty. It's simply a show of power. The Humanoid type has been known for its above-average power, a simple flick of their wrist could ignite a whole field in a second."


A cold chill wavers through the room at his statement. The class has a mix of both fear and intrigue in their eyes.


"Fortunately, a King or Queen has not risen in years. So this particular issue isn't one that you all won't have to worry about at the current point in time."


A breath of relief passes through the class at that statement. Yan Feng couldn't help but give a quick small smirk at the class's very apparent concerns. During his years, the idea of a King or Queen rising was the least of the Daemon Hunter cores problems. Back then the Daemon population was larger and much more volatile. The class continues on, the apprentice hunters were now actively listening to every word. In the end, there was a healthy murmur of discussion of the material which brought a smile to Yan Feng's face. His eyes, however, did catch on Naxio who was still packing to leave and he calls out to him.


Naxio stumbles to the front with a nervous look on his face. He was almost sure that he was in trouble so he was honestly surprised by the gentle smile that Yan Feng gives him as he nears the front. It was the first that he has ever seen him smile, especially so gentle since class began three weeks ago.


"Forgive me young one, but may I ask your name?"


"Oh um, it's Naxio Yi, I hale from the Mizune Clan sir."


A small array of emotion plays quickly on Yan Feng's face however his smile doesn't waver. He nods a few times as if remembering something from long ago.


"I see... I have heard of you before..."


"..O-oh..."


In an instance, that happy, slightly gentle feeling that was building for Naxio plummets into the ground. Anxiety and the cold sweat of nervousness creep up his spine as he looks back at his teacher in a completely different way. A frown slowly pulls to Naxio lips as his head subconscious dips down as it always does when dealing with this revelation. However, the next words out of his sage-like teacher were completely and wholeheartedly unexpected.


"Hmm, yes. I taught your mother in fact."


For a few seconds Naxio couldn't believe what was just said. The word wouldn't click in his mind and he just gaps for a short period. Yan Feng's smile widens ever so slightly as he watches Naxio's facial expression. However, he does understand why Naxio is in such deep shock. The subject of his mother wasn't poorly taken not only in the Mizune Clan but also in the Daemon Core. Given what happened, it was only reasonable. However, Yan Feng always had special care for Naxio's mother. She was different in many ways from the usually Daemon Hunter and has a way about her that attracted those around her.


"Y-you taught my mother?! Truly?!"


"Yes, I did. She was one of my best students to date. She has a certain way about her, and understanding that not many Hunter possess. She was also quite powerful..."


A strange feeling fell over Naxio at that moment, a yearning so deep and powerful that he could barely hold back. Countless questions scratched at his throat, answers he so desperately wanted but just the feeling of disappointment was too great. As he has been told countless times, over and over. His mother was a traitor who not only betrayed the Mizune Clan but also the Daemon Core. However, before he could even make a decision both of their attentions were pulled to the entrance of the room they were in.


Some students were still in the process of leaving however now they were openly ogling at the new figure who was standing in the doorway. Lead Hunter Llewellyn stood silently, eyes peeled onto the front with that same smile on his face. It wasn't hard to not stare at the Lead Hunter, his grace and beauty were something to behold. However for Naxio, at that moment, looking at the Lead Hunter, he felt unease. He drew away from Lead Hunter Yan Feng, giving him a respectful bow in departure before turning to leave. At the same moment, Llewellyn began to move towards the front. At the moment that they passed one another, Naxio couldn't help but glance at the Lead Hunter. Llewellyn gave him a small nod and continued on but still that feeling of unease followed Naxio even as he disappeared from the classroom.


Outside the class, Naxio lets out a small breathe of relief. The uneasy feeling faded away almost in an instant but still, he couldn't help but wonder why it was there even in the first place.


----


"Ahhh, I'm so bored...!"


Naxio's head perks up from the book he was reading to look over at Moushira. The day had been winding down from the lesson and he and Moushira found themselves relaxing in the garden area. For Naxio, these relaxing moments were more than enough for him however for Moushira, it was apparent she was getting restless.


"I wish we could go down the mountain! I want to see the legendary Daemon Hunter city~~!"


Naxio lets out a small sigh as this is the third time she has announced this want over the weeks of them being at the compound. Naxio, however, couldn't truly fault her as he too is very curious about the famous city, Xeyver. Though the Daemon Core Compound is one of the general hubs for all Daemon Hunters, the city just at the base of the mountain is the central heart of all Daemon Hunter operations. He could only remember very vaguely of when he first arrived in the compound how their transport passed through the city. It truly was a marvel with the vast number of Hunters, trade, and other such things. Those that live in Xeyver are usually Daemon Hunters, crafters, and the likes, it was a first in many ways.


"..You both want to go to Xeyver?"


Both Moushira and Naxio turned in surprise at hearing the familiar voice. The tall form of Kaldav was standing only a few feet from with his usually neutral look on his face.


"Oh, Kaldov! You also finished classes for today?"


Moushira beckons him over with a wave of her hands. Kaldov, still as quiet as a statue walks over and takes a seat nearby them. Naxio was giving him a not-so-subtle look as he sits.


"So you know about the city?"


Kaldov nods to her in answer.


"Soo.. then you know how to get there right? I heard the city has some kind of special barrier which makes it inaccessible? Is this true?"


Kaldov looks at her for a few seconds before nodding. Moushira then snaps her head to Naxio with a wide smile.


"Ha, I told you so Naxio!!"


Naxio let out a sigh as he nods. It's true that they did have a disagreement about the circulating rumor around the city being something like a ghost town. The rumor went that the Daemon Hunter city moves around the base of the mountain like a ghost, only appearing at certain times.


"I highly doubt that it's exactly like the rumor though Moushira... It just wouldn't make sense!"


"Why not? I'm sure it's just a transportation spell?"


"But to move an entire city? That would be too much!"


Both Moushira and Naxio then turn to Kaldov who has stayed silent as they argued. Kaldov seemed to be amused and shook his head.


"It's not true."


Moushira pouts as Naxio gives her a teasing smile. The happy pleasant atmosphere was however suddenly interrupted by a voice calling out to Naxio. The trio all turn to see a group looking in their direction and Naxio feels his heart drop a bit. The first face he saw was Li-Ren however at seeing the rest of her group made him freeze up. Both Moushira and Kaldov easily noticed his change in demeanor almost immediantly. Li-Ren however first turns to her group and said something to them before walking over alone. The rest of her group seems to give Naxio a look before leaving with a huff. Once they were gone Naxio's body relaxed and the small smile comes back to his face.


"Li-Ren, it's been a while!"


Naxio's greeting is kind and soft, Li-Ren couldn't help but respond with a small smile of her own. Her eyes do gaze behind Naxio at Moushira and Kaldov for a moment before returning to Naxio.


"Yes, it has been. Can we speak for a moment?"


"Oh yes!"


Naxio and Li-Ren walk a few steps away. Li-Ren seems to be a bit unnerved as she looked around briefly.


"Are you okay, Li-Ren?"


Naxio couldn't help but notice her eyes darting around, looking for any eavesdroppers.


".. I'm fine."


Li-Ren looks back at him with a small smile.


"How have you been? Doing well with training? "


At the mention of training, Naxio gives her a sheepish smile.


"I'm practicing as you told me however my control is still lacking and my overall power is still not strong."


His lack of improvement was certainly weighing on his mind. He followed everything Li-Ren instructed to the letter but still, he felt like he wasn't getting any better! A cloudy expression pulled over Li-Ren's face as a deep frown tug at her lips. Fully expecting some form of scolding from her, Naxio was very surprised by her next words.


"I know it difficult but you have to be ready Naxio. Now that you are here, it doesn't matter what clan you are from or how you were raised. We all face the same danger. "


Naxio couldn't help but feel a cold chill creep up his spine. Her words were more than just simple advice but a warning.


"Li-Ren... is something going to happen?"


A wide range of emotions seems to shoot across her face. None stayed longer than a sec before she spoke again.


"Just promise you will continue to train, even if you feel like it's not working. I'll even help you when I can. "


"Y-yes, of course!"


Li-Ren looks at Naxio, really looks at him before nodding. She then excuses herself and walks off. After she left, both Moushira and Kaldov walked over to Naxio, they both had questioning looks on their faces from Naxio clearly very bothered look.


"Well, what did she say?"


Moushira asked while glancing back to where Li-Ren disappeared.


"She warned me to train?"


"Oh! Is there an exam coming? "


"I'm not sure but Li-Ren has a way about things. So there must be a test that we don't know about. "


Moushira nods in agreement. The major thing is what kind of exam is coming that has Li-Ren so concerned. Moushira could see his discussion was still weighing in Naxio's mind and tried to lighten up the mood.


"Don't worry about training Naxio, we'll help you out! "


Naxio returns Moushira's smile and nods.


Remember Naxio, you swore to prove you will be a proud member of the Mizune Clan! You can't give up!


Reinvigorated, Naxio thinks back Li-Ren's words but doesn't let it bother him. He was going to become a Daemon Hunter! And nothing would stand in his way.

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