Monster Hunter Legends: Hunters of Valor
Date Started: 20 June 2011
Date Finished: Unfinished
Hunters of Valor - Chapter 1
The year 210, modern times, after the separation of Monsters and Humans.
Crashing through the Great Forest, the group of hunters closed in on the giant tree that lay smack bang in the centre. These hunters were training – training for the biggest fight in their lives, and to practice, they were hunting an Espinas. General Jeffery had secured the clearance for them to hunt it, using his high rank in Dondruma and his position as Frontier Coordinator; it was a simple task for him.
“Alright guys! We can stop running for now!” Zhi yelled to the others, slowing his pace. Not all of the resistance was out hunting today – for now; it was William, Meagan, Raj and Makoto. The others were back at the fortress, doing their own training. Zhi continued, “There hasn’t been any disturbances for a while, so we don’t need to rush up to the canopy.” Being the Nargacuga Warrior, his ability of tracking was coming in handy.
“I hope I brought the right switch axe…” William muttered, adjusting the belt that held his Rough Edge axe.
“It’s a White Espinas, so the dragon phial in that will come in handy. Not the best choice, but we didn’t have much in the way of switch axes…” Meagan said making sure her own Black Harvest switch axe was attached properly too.
Makoto caught up just as Raj slid past Zhi, almost tripping over the long pants of his Rajang armour. Panting, Makoto gulped down an energy juice quickly.
“What took you so long Makoto?” Zhi snickered, being used to running through the uneven undergrowth of the Great Forest.
“Not used… to the temperature…” He panted, stretching out.
“Yeah, it can be hard sometimes.” Zhi sympathized.
“That’s what she said!” Raj jumped in, cackling at his own joke. Meagan glared at him, but he was to busy rolling around. Zhi went red, and William noticed.
“Raj, that joke of yours will never catch on. It’s inappropriate, and besides, focus on the quest at hand.” William said in his sternest voice. He wasn’t going to let younger hunters take the lead.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got the best weapon to deal with it…” Raj said affectionately, patting the Worlds End gunlance on his back.
“Come on, we’ll have to climb soon enough, and I want to make it up that tree before lunch.” Makoto announced, leaping back into his run. The others followed, and soon the forest had become a blur of green once again.
Back at the Fortress, the Guardian systematically cleaned his equipment in the training yard as Helen began warming up. For most hunters, the control and mastery of a weapon is key to their skill; but for those who had come across the misfortune of bandits and mercenaries, hand-to-hand combat was important.
The Guardian had advised Kai the other day to begin practise with Helen, as she was an expert at martial arts. It was not only her brilliant takedown of the Ukanlos a few years earlier that had put her in the Top 5.
Top 5 members were usually picked for their contribution to the land of Minegarde – the defeat of a certain monster, defeating many monsters of a high rank or by being chosen by a former Top 5 representative.
Helen had done all of these things, in a way. She had repeatedly slain many monsters that beginning hunters feared, had been in high regards with the former Pokke representative, and had killed a certain destructive monster.
All in all, she was damn tough, and more than a match for Kai. Who by the way, the Guardian thought, is late for training.
Kai lay leisurely in the large bed that had been set up for him, watching the birds soar through the sky and the branches of the trees. He rolled over in the sheets, yawning wide.
He placed his arms carefully around Nami, giving her a gentle shake as she roused from her slumber. Her hair fell softly around her shoulders as she turned her head and smiled.
“Morning, tiger,” She said playfully, making Kai go a little red.
“Good morning to you to, beautiful. Sleep well?” He replied.
“Best sleep in two years, knowing you’re safe.” She said, completely honest.
It had occurred quite suddenly for Kai last night, first the arrival of Zhi and then sleeping with his oldest love. Nami had come to him as he stared out into the forest, and soon she had burst into tears and confessed her love for him.
It was all very joyous and touching, but the details will be spared. Back in the present, Kai was nuzzling Nami’s neck when, suddenly, the door to their room flew open.
“Kai! Get up you lazy beggar! The Guardian and Helen have been waiting all morning!” Demnos stormed in, a look of disdain and rage on his face. Kai looked the former mercenary straight in the eye, giving his best innocent look, when Demnos realized Nami was there.
“Oh. Ah. I see. Well… um, yeah, get down to meet him or he’ll be bloody pissed,” Demnos muttered out, all his original fire leaving him. “Just, uh, remember you’ve got a duty to uphold.” He left the room awkwardly, shutting the door as he went.
The two lovers burst into laughter, rolling in the sheets until Kai picked himself up. “I probably should get down there,” He said while slipping on his tunic, “Or I’ll be letting them down.” He leant over and gave Nami a quick kiss as he fastened his pants, then jogged down to the courtyard.
As soon as he arrived, an arrow shot through the air and smacked firmly into the wall, right next to Kai’s head. In shock, he sprang forward and nearly toppled into the Guardian.
“You’re late.” He intoned, disapproval heavy in his voice. Behind him, Alex chuckled.
“I heard you had a bit of sexy time last night,” He smirked, and for a second he looked nothing like an old man.
“Shut it Alex, I’m trying to make a point here,” The Guardian gave Alex a quick smack on the back of the head then turned to Kai. “I’m serious. The upcoming struggle with the Order won’t be easy. We still don’t know when exactly they’ll choose to strike, and we need to be fully prepared when the time comes. Are you understanding me?”
“Yes, I’m sorry Guardian. Would you excuse my lateness if I was to remind you of two years in prison?” Kai raised an eyebrow in hope, but gave up, as there was no reaction from the Guardian.
“Can it, Tigrex Warrior. I bet you’ve got enough strength in you to spar now that you’re all rested.” Helen’s clear and confident voice rang out across the courtyard. It was she who had fired the shot.
“You can count on me. What style shall we practice?”
“Any from the path of the claw. Show me what you know first of all,” Helen directed, and Kai began to move into Rath’s Talon stance before she stopped him. “No. Attack me.”
Kai gave her a questioning look, and then launched a punch. It connected with thin air. Helen had easily side stepped and was adjusting his arm.
“Not bad… seems like a pre-Dan level of skill, but too easy to dodge, slightly too low, and… no motivation. Really, Kai, throw your best attack at me!” Helen thumped her chest with her hand, and Kai shrugged.
Slipping deftly into Rex Paw, he snapped out a fast strike that made the Guardian’s and Alex’s eyes widen. But…
Helen caught Kai’s hand, gripped his elbow with her other hand and threw him to the ground. Kai picked himself up and patted down his tunic, awaiting Helen’s response.
“Again.” She said, her tone flat and commanding.
Hunters of Valor - Chapter 2
The hunting party’s arms ached, but luckily they had found a perch to stop on as they climbed the tallest tree in the Great Forest. Their monster took roost at the top, but for now they rested and regained their strength.
“Bugger me!” Raj exclaimed as he hauled himself onto the ledge.
“Took your time,” Makoto said, smiling.
“Shut it, you were smashed when we were running back there,” Raj reminded him as he gulped in air.
Nearby, Zhi, Will and Meagan were relatively fine. “Do the Top 5 members hunt Frontier monsters much?” Will mused, speaking mainly to Meagan but making sure Raj heard.
“Not really,” She replied, looking over the forest, “But we do know about them.”
“Yeah, Jeff’s the one who orders the hunts and all that, he’s better at the administrative stuff than I am.” Raj added, his breath mostly back.
“I wouldn’t mind being part of that Frontier team… Eh, I guess G-Rank’s all I’ll have access to for a while,” Makoto said, thinking aloud.
“Heheh, yeah, me too.” Zhi laughed, before standing up and grasping the vines of the giant tree. “Ready?”
The others sighed, but nonetheless got up and began climbing again.
Meanwhile, back at the fortress, Kai wasn’t improving Helen’s opinion of his fighting skills.
“Did all the dirty-fighting in prison make you lazy? Come on man, you’re supposed to be a samurai!” Helen shouted at Kai, who had once again been flipped.
Standing up, he replied, “No. The dirty fighting kept me aware, but I can’t say I was practising every day,” He winced as he prodded a new bruise.
“Hmph,” She huffed, readying her stance once again.
Kai had begun to pick up on the subtle hints at what attacks Helen would throw next. A hand below the waist meant a kick was coming his way, left leg back meant something different to right leg back… it was complex, but if Kai could accurately spot the next one…
He moved into Rex’s Paw, aiming to launch a punch for the midsection and then follow up with an uppercut.
Helen narrowed her eyes and dropped her hand.
Kai leapt, his first punch diverted to the side, then his second punch blocked as her head swung back in surprise.
But he knew that wasn’t the end of it… soon as he’d thought this, she kicked high, aiming for his neck. Kai dodged, and using his speed, grabbed her outstretched leg.
This earned him a look of amusement from Helen, as she spun in his grip and kicked at his ribs with her other leg. Time seemed to slow down as Helen was suspended in her attack.
Now it was Kai’s turn to smile, as he slid into Stealthy Narga, which he’d hidden behind Rex’s Paw.
Using her momentum, Kai swiftly pulled her second kick past his body, moving in to strike with an elbow to her back.
Kai allowed himself a moment of happiness at having finally broken through her counters and blocks, and turned to expect to see Helen sprawling across the ground.
But Helen was no regular fighter – even though she’d been hit hard by Kai’s attack, she had rolled at the right time and avoided crashing into the stones of the courtyard. She landed lithely on her feet.
“Don’t think you’ve won just yet,” She laughed, relaxing a little. “Come on, let’s break for a drink.”
They hadn’t noticed just yet, but the Guardian and Alex were giggling away on the sidelines. At first they’d been awed by the speed and skill of each fighters’ strikes, then started to bet on who’d win.
“Damn, I owe you a boiled Hermitaur,” Alex sighed, patting the Guardian on the back.
“You should’ve trusted me when I said he had potential,” he replied.
Taking a large swill from his water pouch, Kai relaxed as his body cooled down. Sure, as he’d said to Helen, prison had lowered his skill in tactical fighting – but it hadn’t lowered his ability to analyse his opponent.
“So, Helen, how many Guild soldiers and Order members will be as skilled as you? Will I need to reach a level like yours to take on anyone who gets in our way?” Kai asked.
“Well,” Helen began, considering something in her head. “Maybe a few. Especially the one’s I’ve taught.”
“What?!” Kai spluttered, surprise clear on his face. Helen didn’t seem to find it amusing.
“I have taught Guild soldiers how to deal with hand-to-hand combat. Only because I was required to do some kind of demonstration or a public speech because of my Top 5 rank. I wouldn’t have purposefully told lethal techniques to Order members.” She explained, her voice dead serious.
“Ahh,” he breathed, the shock passed.
“The problem is,” the Guardian interjected, “We still don’t know who is in the high rank of the Order. If we did know, we’d have a better grasp of the situation, and the amount of effort needed to subdue it.”
“Which is why,” Helen announced, “I have invited one of the Order’s high ranked members to fight you, Kai.”
Kai violently spat out the water he’d been drinking.
At the peak of the largest tree in the Great Forest, the party of hunters had triumphed over the climb and now watched the sun go down, illuminating the forest with an orange glow.
“It’s these sights that remind me why I became a hunter,” Raj said, a completely honest expression on his face.
“Yeah. I never really had a choice in the matter… but it’s turned out to be a damn good experience.” Makoto added in.
Zhi was busy examining the edges of the treetop, pointing out to Will where ropes would be suitable. Meagan didn’t seem to have noticed that Makoto was waiting expectantly for the others to join in.
He shuffled over, trying to read the blank expression on her face.
“If you’re going to ask me why I became a hunter, don’t,” She growled, pre-empting Makoto’s question.
“Fine. Everyone has his or her reasons. For instance, Tenma ran off to join Kai without telling me. I’m sure Zhi has other reasons for joining us, even if I can’t figure them out…”
“That’s different,” She replied, “They chose their paths. You had a choice, too. But you stuck with the traditions of your kin, and became a warrior willing to die for his people.”
“Look, I’m not going to force it out of you. I was only wondering,” Makoto defended, his expression slightly grumpier than earlier.
“Alright everyone!” Will called out, breaking the awkward silence, “Attach a rope to your belt and get ready to rumble.” He grinned as the last of the light faded away.
Hunters of Valor – Chapter 3
Night had fallen on the Great Forest, and storm clouds had gathered above the peak of the tallest tree. The party of hunters crouched low, tense for the upcoming battle.
Each of them had a rope tied to their waste, just in case the White Espinas threw them off.
"Tell me again," Makoto shouted across to Raj, "Why does it roost up here?" The elite hunter giggled to himself before replying, "Because it likes the view, obviously."
"Ugh, idiot." Makoto said under his breath, his eyes roaming the clouds above. The wind had picked up, but fortunately it wasn't the gale force kind that constantly struck at the Snowy Mountains. Makoto lamented the last time he had been at the Samurai Temple, fighting once again with the Elders.
All of this for Kai, he thought.
Then the wind seemed to slow, however the sound of it reached a whistling pitch as several clouds near the centre of the tree's top drew in together. They whirled slowly, before parting and leaving a gaping hole in the sky.
"It's here," Will whispered, barely containing his excitement.
From the hole emerged terrifying white wings, covered in venomous purple spikes. Flapping slowly, the White Espinas descended to the tangle of vines and dirt, its head raised with an air of superiority.
No other True Flying Wyvern could match its sheer destructive power – the poisonous fireballs it breathed could decimate whole forests with one blast, the flames spread with such ferocity.
Then, as it lowered its head, Raj leapt forward with his World's End gunlance and struck at its jaw, a brilliant spark of black lightning issuing forth from the tip.
At the same time, Zhi loosed a volley of arrows, each one striking a different point on the White Espinas' vast wings. Will was more conservative, unsheathing his switch-axe and waiting till the wyvern made its move.
Makoto ran towards its hind legs, his dual swords at the ready, and unleashed a flurry of strikes in quick procession. The last to join was Meagan, who appeared wary towards the monster.
She struck at its tail with an upswing, and a gash appeared in the White Espinas' skin for a moment – but then a thin membrane covered the wound as the black lightning from the strike dissipated.
All this at once would have thrown the average Rathalos into a blind rage, but for the White Espinas to have not moved an inch was disconcerting. Will was the first to notice this curious fact.
"Raj!" He called out, "Why isn't it striking back?"
Glancing fervently at Will as he struck again and again with his gunlance, Raj replied with a sort of mad delight. "It's utterly docile until enraged, and even then it doesn't have a short temper!"
Whilst he talked, the White Espinas wandered forward and Raj's attack unintentionally missed the mark and nicked its neck.
"So wouldn't we want to avoid enraging-" Will began, but he was cut off by an astounding roar.
The White Espinas leapt into the air, slowly gaining height, out of range for all but Zhi's attacks, swung its head back and unleashed a fireball.
Time seemed to slow down as each of the hunters reacted in their own way, some from sheer primal fear, others from learnt arrogance to fight till the bitter end. Will jumped backwards as the pulsing orb neared the ground, Raj clutched his shield with all his might, Makoto tripped over his feet and went for a dive, Zhi remained calm and readied another arrow, and Meagan ran towards the spot the Espinas seemed to be landing on.
As the ball impacted, a shockwave blasted out, spreading the zone of damage to a large circle, flames arising where each hunter had been standing.
"Now things are getting serious," Will cried, grinning as he switched to sword mode and readied to attack once again.
The impact of the White Espinas' fireball made a flash that could be seen from the fortress.
"Trust them to give ME the worst job," Demnos grumbled as he moved away from the window, the light having gone down to a flicker on the tree's peak.
He was carrying a stack of papers, supposedly retrieved from the libraries of Castle Schrade, but he doubted that highly.
Even though the Guardian and Alex helped now and again with deciphering the old texts, they had left the grunt work of filing through them to Demnos, who had now read all about the trade, weather patterns and even royal family trees from Schrade's history.
By complete chance he had come across few mentions and records of the Dragon Slayers, the oldest monster hunters, however, even the brief accounts described them in a completely different way to what the stories told.
Demnos sighed fondly as he remembered sitting around the fire as a child, listening to the Elders tell again and again the great myths of old. He remembered Michael, the leader of the Dragon Slayers, Gabrielle the Sharp-sword, Arthur the Storm-killer and the various other men who had come to be known as Knights of Minegarde.
But the descriptions never mentioned the band of warriors that always travelled together, who devised the most cunning of plans to outwit the Elder Dragons, whose very names struck fear into the eyes of wyverns.
No, the old accounts told of a huge force, an army of sorts, which caused the earth to shake as they marched by.
It was all good trivial stuff, but the Guardian wouldn't be pleased until he had found solid information regarding the habits of the Fatalis. Again, Demnos doubted that such a document could exist, as he had always thought the Fatalis had been sent from the bowels of the underworld.
As he headed down to the room that had been set aside for their deliberation, he studied the cover of the tome he carried.
Might get lucky this time, he wondered, setting the heavy book down on the desk with an ominous slam.
Meagan barely avoided the spines on the White Espinas' tail as it spun to strike at Zhi, who had strayed to close to its fearsome head. The hunters had been backed into a corner, swapping places every time the Espinas made a move, and getting ever closer to the edge.
Will managed a brilliant sword burst upon the wyvern's legs, and it tumbled to the ground with a roar. Raj and Makoto rushed in, striking at its face and tail with zeal.
As it heaved itself up, Meagan once again struck for the tail, but the White Espinas was fully aware of her presence and lashed out with a savage tail whip. Unable to completely dodge it, Meagan back hopped to lessen the impact, but the force of the blow was still enough to throw her off the side of the tree, out into the thin air.
"Meagan!" Makoto roared, diving under the White Espinas' tail as it continued on its course. He scrambled up, reaching out to grab the quickly unspooling rope…
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