Monster Hunter Legends: Secrets Shaded Black
Date Started: 2 July 2011
Date Finished: Unfinished
Secrets Shaded Black – Chapter 1
The year 197, modern times, after the separation of Monsters and Humans.
Zhi knelt down, examining some disturbances on the grassy floor of the Great Forest. He got up and shuffled slightly sideways, in line with what he saw and continued onwards. As he walked his Nargacuga armor chinked slightly. The eleven year old was average size for his age and blessed with a single ability of the Nargacuga Warrior. Tracking.
Zhi was testing and honing his abilities today, as a task for his dictator of a father, Feng. Zhi had never liked his father much. His two siblings however, misguidedly adored Feng, something which Zhi could never understand. Even when they were babies he wanted complete dominance over them and their powers, only ever teaching them how to use one of the three abilities of the Narga Warrior and training them individually. Zhi knew Tracking whilst Lien, his younger sister, was able to see in the dark and his older brother Qiang, whom Zhi had a vicious rivalry with, had the ability to of Leaping and had immense strength in his legs.
Zhi’s head snapped around as he heard a Bird Wyvern call not too far from his position.
“No need to track you anymore you dumb bird” Zhi whispered to himself after what seemed like an age of tracking it.
The Hypnocatrice stood in the middle of a grassy clearing in the Great Forest, preening its feathers. All of a sudden a black tipped arrow whizzed out of the tree line and buried itself in the Hypnocatrice’s back. The monster screeched in pain as Zhi emerged for the trees, letting loose some more arrows from his Owl’s Eye Darkbow. The Hypnoc fell down, writhing with pain for three deadly arrows protruded from its feathers. Zhi walked up to the monster, putting his bow away and taking out a dagger. As he finished off the monster with blow to the head, a white gas erupted from the beast’s beak.
“Ahh crap!” Zhi cursed, beginning to feel drowsy.
Rika was on her usual cleaning rounds above the Grand Hall in the Hidden City of the Nargacuga Clan. She had heard that there was an important meeting in there today and knew a guard would come and clear this area before the meeting went ahead. There was nothing really special about Rika. At the age of ten she had commenced her training to become an assassin of the Narga Clan, something which she had despised. Now, over two years on, Rika had given up her training and was now tasked with all the crappy jobs. “If it means I don’t have to kill anyone” she thought grimly.
As Rika laboured over the boring job she thought about Zhi, her only friend. He seemed different to most of the clan, who relished in the assassin tradition, and was certainly not and cruel and sadistic as the rest of his family. They had become friends as soon as they had trained together one time. Rika was Zhi’s only true friend as well and Rika got the feeling that he too, didn’t want to have any part in the Narga Clan’s doings. “He’s just too afraid of his father” Rika thought. And rightly so. Nobody would want to tussle with a man that had killed his own wife, allegedly. Everyone knew it was true though.
Feet stumbled up the staircase to Rika’s position. The door open and an overweight guard peered inside. Too lazy to check if the room was actually empty he quickly glanced around the room. Satisfied that no one was there, the guard walked out, closing the door behind him. Rika turned around, hearing the door open, from the back of the room. The door closed almost as soon as it opened.
“Must be some kids messing around” Rika said. Taking almost no other notice of the disturbance she continued with her work.
“Wonder when the meeting’s gonna start” she mused.
The doors to the Grand Hall of the Hidden City opened with a resonating bang. Rika was still up in the room above and peered down into the meeting hall, careful not to be spotted. She spotted several familiar faces gathered around a central table. The Nargacuga Clan grand elder, some other assorted elders. Rika also, to her annoyance, spotted Feng down there, wearing a cruel smile. Rika then moved her gaze over to the arrivals. There were five of them, all wearing thick, dark hoods to conceal their identity. The obvious leader of the group walked two or three paces ahead of the others with a confident stride. The grand elder came to his feet to greet the guests, addressing the leader.
“Ah, Caine, we’ve been expecting you.”
Secrets Shaded Black – Chapter 2
Caine smirked beneath his hood. “No need for these dumb-ass formalities old man,” he snickered, fingering the hilt of his weapon “let’s just do what the Order of the Black Dragon usually does... and get straight down to business!”
Feng jumped to his feet, the chair he was sitting on skidded a good five meters backwards “You will show some respect Caine!” he boomed. At this the men accompanying Caine reached for their weapons. The Grand Elder put a hand across Feng’s body “Feng...”
Caine ushered his men to stop with a wave of his hand “now, now, boys, there’s no need for that. You know as well as I do Feng, that the only reason you’re being kept alive at the moment is because your help will be quite valuable in the battles to come. You troublesome Monster Warriors could potentially be a giant thorn in the Order’s side remember. Thankfully your more... reasonable Grand Elder agreed to help us rather than see the death of his Clan. A wise decision that has already bore fruit in our quest to realise the prophecy.”
“The three Fatalis eggs,” the Grand Elder said thoughtfully “I remember.”
Feng burst out into a cruel cackle “I still remember the look on that Guild officer's face when I gutted his son, priceless.”
Caine smirked once again “See, this is why we accepted the offer of help in exchanged for immunity and assistance. There is no better assassin than the Nargacuga Warrior.”
Feng eyed Caine, a broad grin across his face “Who’s indulging in formalities now Caine? I thought you wanted to get straight down to... what was it, oh yes, business...”
Caine’s self-important and confident air faltered for an instant and Feng knew he had won a small victory.
“Yes, business... You must know of the Tigrex Warrior. A man called Ryouji.” Caine queried.
“Want me to knock him off as well?” Feng asked, almost casually.
“Precisely” Caine concluded.
In the stands above the Grand Hall Rika lay with her back against the wall, taking all that she heard in. Her eyes were wide with fear and she was shaking and breathing hard. There was no mistaking the corruption in the Nargacuga Clan she was witnessing. And just who were these Order of the Black Dragon characters? It has something to do with three Fatalis eggs... that can’t be right. The last of the Fatalis were exterminated 200 years ago. Rika’s head swam with so many questions. “I must warn Zhi” she thought.
Zhi woke up and rubbed the sleep out his eyes. He yawned, opened his eyes and jumped in surprise, for a Hypnocatrice lay, unmoving, beside him. Thick trails of its blood stained the green grass.
“Where am I?” Zhi questioned himself, shielding his eyes from the morning sun. It was dawn, the sounds of the Great Forest beginning to come to life. “I swear I started this hunt later than dawn” Zhi suddenly remembered the hunt and being hit by the white gas. “Aw, man. I lost a day. Damn sleep gas.”
Zhi averted his gaze towards the middle of the forest and that giant tree. The Hidden City sat due east of the giant tree, concealed in the treetops and connected by a series of bridges between the great trees. It was going to be a long day.
After many hours of walking and weaving his through the Great Forest Zhi reached the Hidden City around mid afternoon. To an outsider the forest just looked like it continued onwards but Zhi could make out the well camouflaged lines of the walls and other structures. And if you looked up, which no one really did, the bases of the platforms set high in the trees were quite visible. Not wanting to be seen by any of the guards he didn’t take the front gate approach to entering the city. They would all laugh at him for falling asleep, a rookie’s mistake.
“I’m not gonna give them that pleasure” Zhi whispered to himself before trekking around the back of the wall. He searched for a bit before finding what he was looking for. His secret entrance to the Hidden City. Zhi began to scramble up the easily recognised tree with its peculiar T-shaped branch. When his saw a break in the guards looking his way, he nimbly hoped down onto the wall, then into the city itself.
Rika looked out the window of her small hut at the base of a tree for what seemed to be the millionth time. She lived by herself, her parents passing away when she was very young in a hunting accident.
“Come on Zhi, where are you?” she pleaded. “You always walk down this way.” After the meeting had dissipated yesterday she had rushed down to her home and locked the door, extremely frightened. A twelve year old isn’t meant to hear those things.
Rika looked out the window again and gasped when she saw Zhi casually striding down the street, brushing some dust off the shoulder of his armor.
“Zhi!” she whispered out the window when he was walking past. Zhi turned around, recognising Rika’s dwelling “Rika, what is it?”
Rika unlocked the door and pulled Zhi inside roughly.
“Rika, what are you doing?” Zhi asked.
“Just listen” Rika insisted on the verge of tears. “The Elders and your father...” she managed burst into tears.
Zhi pulled her into a hug “It’s okay, what about my father?”
Rika pulled away from Zhi and looked intently at him. “There are such secretes Zhi... secrets... shaded black with death!”
Secrets Shaded Black – Chapter 3
“What Secrets Rika?” Zhi asked becoming impatient.
Rika was still sobbing “I was in the stands of the Great Hall and a meeting was taking place.”
Zhi shook his head in disbelief “How’d you manage that?”
“A slack guard... but just listen okay... the meeting seemed to be of great importance. The Grand Elder was there, along with your father and some other elders. Five men burst in all wearing thick cloaks. Their leader, Caine his name was, says there we part of a group called the Order of the Black Dragon. From what I heard they have been issuing Feng with assassination requests in return for safety from something, a prophecy, that involves three Fatalis Eggs.”
“Fatalis Eggs!?” Zhi exclaimed. “How’d they get their hands on them?”
“Shhh,” Rika hissed “keep your voice down.”
“Well we’ve got to go worn someone” Zhi managed, still shocked.
“Who, Zhi? The elders are in on it and anyone else we tell would tell either Feng or the elders anyway.
“Then what do we do?”
“Can you get me out of the city unnoticed?” Rika inquired. Zhi thought for a moment “yeah, probably”
“Good, I need to speak with the Tigrex Samurai.”
“The Tigrex Samurai... aren’t they one of the other Monster Warrior clans? Why would you want to speak to them? I doubt they’d help us.”
“It’s because the Tigrex Warrior is Feng’s next target!” Rika snapped, seething with anger. “Just help me Zhi and hurry up about it.”
“Okay, calm down, I’ll be back in a moment.” Zhi responded exiting the building and closing the door gently behind him. Rika gazed out the window as Zhi raced down the street.
“Come one Zhi... we don’t have much time.”
Zhi pumped his arms and legs to their maximum capacity. He sped down the street, and quickly bundled up a tree into the city proper, under the shade of the giant canopies. The path lead to his quarters, just a short ways from the Grand Hall. Zhi opened the door with such ferocity that it slammed against the parallel wall and shuddered on its hinges.
He strode over to the opposite wall removing two cloaks from hangers set into the wall. The cloaks were a staple throughout the Nargacuga Clan, given to those who had just completed their assassin’s training. The cloaks were green and brown and dyed in uneven splotches. The Narga armor that each clan member wore would camouflage them admirably under the cover of darkness but there were circumstances where one may want to keep themselves hidden during the lighter hours. The cloaks blended in with the forest perfectly, concealing the wearer from all but a trained eye.
Rushing back to Rika’s dwelling, Zhi donned his cape. He rapped on the door with his knuckles and was immediately ushered in by Rika.
Zhi tossed the other cloak to her “you’re going to need that”
“Thanks” she said, wrapping the cloak around her frame. After Rika had gathered her belongs and locked up the house “even though I’m not coming back she thought”. Without speaking the pair walked tensely down the street, seeing danger in every corner, an enemy in every clan member around them.
Reaching the wall where his secret way into the city was and, after waiting for a break in the patrolling guards, gave Rika a boost up then, using his assassin training, scaled the vertical wall onto the battlements.
“Jump” Zhi ordered not unkindly, motioning with his hand. After a brief moment of hesitation Rika jump off the edge of the Hidden City wall.
A gasp escaped Rika’s lips as she landed awkwardly on her left leg. She fell down in a heap a clasped her left ankle. “Zhi!” she hissed “I think it’s broken.”
“Damn” Zhi cursed crouching low on the wall. The Guard nearest to them had heard Rika’s astonished cry as she had landed and was coming over to investigate.
Wraith-like, Zhi jumped down and, just before hitting the deck, rolled to break his fall and avoid the same fate as Rika. Just in time he squatted beside her and draped the cloak over them, the dark greens and browns matching those of the grass and dirt around them. He put his hand over her mouth and tried to control his own breathing. “Stay completely still” he whispered, almost inaudible.
Using his acute hearing, Zhi heard the Narga Clan guard pace back and forward a couple of meters to the left atop the wall.
“Must ‘ave been some animal” he mused quietly before gazing around the landscape once more. Satisfied he went back to his rounds.
Zhi waited until after the guard’s footsteps could not be heard anymore before removing his hand off Rika’s mouth. “Let’s go” he whispered, keeping his voice low just in case.
“All right” Rika replied, her eyes set and determined. Zhi tensed his muscles and removed the cape and they started their flight into the Great Forest.
Year 1 - Fates Legend
Year 171 - Rathalos Red
Year 173 - Requiem of Fire
Year 183 - Knights of the Tundra
Year 197 - Secrets Shaded Black
Year 198 - The Tigrex Samurai
Year 208 - The Tigrex's Rage
Year 208 - The Guardian
Year 210 - The Grand Trio
Year 210 - Hunters of Valor