Monster Hunter Legends: The Grand Trio
Date Started: 20 June 2010
Date Finished: 4 November 2010
The Grand Trio – Chapter 1
The year 210, modern times, after the separation of Monsters and Humans
The sounds of cheering and beer glasses clinking could be heard from outside the bar, and now and again light would spill from the doorway. A small town on the outskirts of Dondruma's region, it had no need of hunters and was mainly a fishing town. When the majority of the population went to the tavern, you knew it had been a good day at sea. The town's local jailer, a man called Stanley, always enjoyed joining the town for drinks. Tonight, he had had just a little too much and was guided to the door of the bar by his friends.
"Thanks guys, (hiccup) we can't go and get our sheriff (hiccup) drunk for duty tomorrow!" The group chuckled as Stanley staggered out of the tavern and onto the street. His house was up the road, but it was dark and he decided upon taking a torch just in case. In an odd drunken stoop, he managed to get a fair way up the street until he fell on his side. Chuckling as he got up, he fell back again when he realised there was a man before him.
"Need a little help mate?" asked the man.
"Thanks fer that," replied Stanley, not trying to hide the slur in his voice. The man helped him up, and Stanley heard the clink of metal. Something gleamed red in the torchlight. They walked off, Stanley not bothering to make his legs work, giving the man a hard time. "It's this one…" he mumbled, pointing to his house. The man set Stanley down, and Stanley fumbled with is keys as he leant on the door. "Its' aright, you can go now…" he slurred as he opened his door. But before he got a chance to go in, the man slammed the door shut and pushed Stanley into the wall.
"Actually, Stanley, I don't think it is alright. I have something for you to do, and if you don't do it, you are going to have a VERY unpleasant time…"
Stanley stared at the man, barley making out his face in the dark. He finally mumbled, "How'd you know me name?"
In between the regions of Moga and Minegarde, there is a large body of water known as Dondoga Sea. Many small islands litter this sea, but the most famous of them is definitely Drakus Guild Prison. The actual fort itself takes up most of the island, even tunnelling down close to the water. From a distance, the island looks like a castle that has been paused in mid-explosion, as the treacherous rocks that make up the islands ore jut out dangerously. It is armed with the newest ballistae and cannons, and always guarded by snipers. The Dragonator the Guild had shipped over has been modified to suit both monsters and boats, making the only safe entrance the small port where prisoners are handed over. It is a truly terrible place, but is reserved for the worst of criminals. High up in the lock-down tower, Kai had lived in the prison for two years. His cell was located at the highest level of the tower, and at the end of the hallway. It was a dingy cell, with raggedy bunk and mould growing in one corner. It had one good point, the view. The cells height and small, barred window gave Kai a view of the sea. It had become part of what he had used to tame his rage, and stay sane.
In his first few weeks, Kai had found it hard to adapt to prison life. Guards, angry prisoners and even monsters at one point had muscled him around. The guards tended to do things that wouldn't be seen, such as shoving him to his cell with more than enough force, "accidently" hitting his food out of his hands and other such snide actions. Kai could easily keep himself from getting angry with the guards, because he didn't want to extend his stay any longer. But the prisoners were a different thing altogether. Most new prisoners go through a time of getting pushed around, and Kai was no exception. He had been the victim in many a fight, blamed as the starter of riots, and had been knocked out several times. With the prisoners, Kai had only snapped twice during the second and third month, and severely injured three prisoners. He broke the legs of the first, because he tried to steal his armour. The second and third tried to gang up on Kai, but he broke the first mans ribs with a single punch, and then spun round and broke the other mans shoulder with a kick. After that, the prisoners left him alone more or less.
The prison's warden, a cruel man who Kai had yet to learn the name of, had made a sadistic deal with the Guild. The prisoners mainly consisted of hunters, and the prison didn't bother to take the prisoner's weapons or armour. They let them have the armour, but confiscated the weapons. This was where the warden made use of this – he had monsters shipped over to the prisons arena, and pitted the prisoners against them. The fights were done gladiator style, with two prisoners pitted against one monster. The monsters changed from time to time, but for a while the prisoners had had no luck against the latest beast to be fought. If one prisoner was knocked unconscious, they were given a day in the infirmary then a week in the prisons depths. The winner went back to their cell. The guards loved watching the weak prisoners get knocked out quickly, but also liked when a prisoner kept going even though it was futile. Soon, it would be Kai's turn to fight the terrible new monster…
Night had fallen, and Kai was already in his cell, meditating. It was calming to listen to the wind and the faint waves, if you block out the crazy wails coming from underneath. Kai's eyes snapped open as he heard a clatter at the end of the hall. "Get in your cell, cripple!" barked a guard, shoving the prisoner down the hall. His cell was the closest to Kai's, and they had come to have a sort of friendship, in the sense that they looked out for one another. He was a decent man, but had lost an arm a long time ago, and it made him rather pathetic looking in fights. Nonetheless, he had helped keep Kai sane and had given him a reason not to get to angry. In the monster fight, he would be paired with Kai, but it meant Kai had to do most of the actual fighting. As the guards locked his friends cell door, Kai drifted off back to the wind and the waves. Far off, at least somewhere was peaceful.
The Grand Trio – Chapter 2
The rays of light that managed to peak through the small cell window, were dull this morning. Kai woke shivering, and discovered the source of the cold. Peering out the window, he could barely see much, as a large fog had descended upon the prison. Rubbing his eyes, he proceeded to attach his armour. Just as he finished placing his helmet on, he heard the lazy thump of the guards coming up the stairs. Sitting on the edge of his bed, Kai watched as the guards entered and roughly woke anyone who wasn't already up. The first two guards were the regular brutes who worked the tower shift, but the third man was new. He stood around behind the others awkwardly, and looked as though he would rather be somewhere else. Today was the day Kai was to be sent into the arena and pitted against the unknown monster. The first guard got to Kai's cell with a sneer on his face. "Good luck in today's fight," he growled, then promptly spat on the cell floor. He unlocked Kai's door as his friend unlocked the cell door nearest Kai's. The guards pulled out the cell occupants and shoved them down the hallway, as the other prisoners jeered at them. For all they cared, those two could have been facing death row.
"Mornin' Demnos." Kai said quietly, greeting his friend.
"Morning Kai. Ready for the fight?" he replied, a casual air about him.
Kai chuckled quietly to himself, and waited to reply as the guards turned them down a new corridor. "I'm ready, sure. How about you, ol' one arm?"
This was how Demnos and Kai had managed to keep sane for the past two years; dry humour. Demnos made jokes that infuriated Kai when he first arrived, but once Kai explained his predicament, Demnos refused to let up on them anyway. It had helped Kai with dealing with insults, and they eventually came to a point where it became routine. The guards lead the pair into another room, much different from any in the prison. It was filled with all the weapons of every hunter sent to Drakus, carefully laid out into each section of weapon type and labelled as the prisoners. It had surprised Kai at first, but he easily located his Wailing Cleaver amongst the long swords. He looked over his shoulder to Demnos, who was staring jealously at a great sword. It was terrible that Demnos couldn't wield his preferred weapon, and he settled for a reasonable sword and shield, minus the shield. The guards, noticing that the pair had their weapons, closed the first door behind them and pushed Kai and Demnos towards a second door.
The pair stumbled blindly out into the fog, searching the grey area frantically. Demnos shivered, and a panicked look spread across his face. No healing items. No stamina items. It was a truly unmatched fight. Kai focused his eyes on certain spots, noticing dark blobs here and there. A wall… a turret… he couldn't make out any monsters… just then, a clanking, grating sound echoed across the mist, and Demnos realised why they couldn't see the monster.
"They've just let it out now… that must've been the gate." Demnos explained to Kai, now focusing his sight to where the sound had come from. For a moment, nothing moved. Kai and Demnos were as still as the air around them.
A dull boom shook the ground, followed by another and another. A mighty blurred shape materialised, two glinting points of light appearing from a point on the monsters form. Kai and Demnos readied their weapons, the monster coming so close they could hear its ragged breath… "Run!" commanded Kai, splitting away from Demnos as the monster lumbered towards where they had been. Kai didn't get far, as the monster roared making him clutch his ears. The monster's tail swung past him, and cleared a fair bit of the fog. Now Kai could see the beast for its full form… it was nightmarish – the sort of monster hunters only heard rumours of, and hoped never to fight. A huge tail, small arms, powerful legs and a fearsome set of teeth, its colour was dulled in the fog but Kai could make out a deep green. It turned away from Kai, heading over to a point where Demnos might be. Coming back to his senses, Kai ran towards the monster, hacking at its legs. It didn't seem to notice, as Demnos was slashing violently at its face. It made a bite towards Demnos, making him tumble over. Realising its next move, Kai drove his katana deep into the monsters leg, in a hope to stop it snacking on Demnos. Lightning crackled around the wound, but the monster didn't stop. Pulling the sword out of its leg, Kai ran to its head where Demnos was barely stopping its powerful chomps with his sword. "HURRY UP, DAMNIT!!" Demnos struggled out, the monster's jaw coming down on the ground where Demnos' arm would have been. Kai summoned his strength, and with one large swing, brought the sword down across the beast's eye. It howled in pain, blood pouring from its eye socket. Kai had made a perfect hit, not as powerful to rip its eye out, but enough to rip the eye itself. It backed off, whimpering a bit. The fog was clearing faster now, and Kai and Demnos had a grip of the arena.
The walls where much higher than Kai had thought in the mist, easily reaching two and a half stories high. It was to make sure the monster didn't get out, but also the prisoners… atop the walls, there were turrets and seats fashioned out of remaining stone, and it was hear that guards had begun to sit down on. The monster had come back to its senses, but was now going into rage mode. It locked its one good eye onto Kai, and let out another ferocious roar. Its back turned from green to red, old battle scars showing up on its body. Kai nodded to Demnos, and then sped off to charge the monster. As he reached its head, the dragon reared up, and when it brought its head back down, spewed out a dark beam of energy. The energy hit Kai full on, throwing him back, whilst leaving an odd aura on his longsword. It was Demnos' turn to attack now, and he came in from the side. He made use of the sword's lightness to dodge and keep on attacking, but needed Kai to help soon. It was hard to roll with one arm and keep up a steady stream of attacks. The monster stomped hard on the ground, causing Demnos to lose his balance with a small quake. But before it could land another blow, Kai came rushing in with a cut to its ribs. The monster yelped in pain, flinching away from the strike, and Demnos scrabbled towards Kai along the ground. Making use of this, the pair struck at the monsters face, until Demnos' sword suddenly bounced. "Shit…" he muttered, inspecting the blades edge. Unfortunately, the beast had its blind eye turned to them, and swung round in a large arc with its tail to see them, knocking both of them off their feet. Demnos heaved himself up, rolling to the side as the monster crashed towards them, but Kai was not as lucky to dodge it. The dragon leaped the rest of the distance, and pinned Kai down with its foot. A big droplet of its saliva rolled down from its mouth, and Kai recoiled in disgust.
The crowd in the seats above jeered as they saw the beast bear down on Kai, some crying out in disappointment, others in joy. There were a lot of bets placed on this fight. Personally, Stanley didn't like watching the fights. He had only been here a couple of days, and was more worried about the people who had sent him here than betting. He was sitting on the side of the guards that wanted the prisoners to win, but couldn't see much hope for them at the moment. He had never seen that monster before today, or even heard about it. Some of the smarter guards informed him it was a Deviljho, a rare brute wyvern from the Moga region. Sighing, Stanley walked off to get breakfast, pondering when his employers would contact him…
As Kai and Demnos fought the Deviljho, the morning's fog had yet to clear around the lower parts of the island. The guards on duty around the turrets and walls relaxed; nobody was crazy enough to sail through the fog. But the thing was, the danger they faced was already there, way before the fog. And that danger was now going about their business at the base of prison. The soft pat of feet was barely discernable from water dripping off the rocks. The creak of wood and the lapping of waves would be put down to the old planks at the port. The staff at Drakus Guild Prison had no idea the danger was in plain sight.
The Grand Trio – Chapter 3
The morning fog had just about cleared at the tops of the prison watchtowers, but when the lazy guards on duty bothered to return to their posts, they were by far to late to glimpse any disturbance in the mist.
Whilst the rest of the prison woke up, the already awake guards cheered and booed in the small arena, as Kai and Demnos fought for their lives. The Deviljho was bearing down on Kai, blood pouring from its eye as it opened its jaws to bite. But, just as it was about to snap down, it spotted Demnos in the corner of its good eye and swiped its tail to get him out of the way. He narrowly dodged the massive tail, but in that small moment, the Deviljho released some of the pressure its foot had on Kai. Seizing the chance with all his gusto, he brought his Wailing Cleaver up right through the monster's lower jaw. It tried to roar in pain, but only managed to cough out some blood and slobber. It hit Kai, but he forced his way through the disgust and stood up, the blade still in the monsters mouth. It was time to finish it. Wrenching the sword out, the Deviljho backed away, somehow making its huge form cower. Kai had enough spirit energy in the blade for a big cut, and chose to slash down across its good eye. Unlike the other eye, this one came out with a splash of blood that landed near Demnos. "Ewww," he muttered.
The beast now lay on the ground, small whimpering noises coming from its mouth. The crowd above cheered and booed at the same time, but Kai didn't care. He was only focused on the dragon that lay at his mercy. Stepping over to its back, he raised his katana and delivered the final blow. The Deviljho let out one last cry of pain, then slumped down with a loud WUMPH of air. Pulling his sword out, Kai stepped down and turned to Demnos who just nodded. Kai had gone the whole fight without getting angry. Now, the large gate built into the wall was rattling up, and ten prison staff with ropes lumbered out to take away the Deviljho. On the other side of the arena, two annoyed looking guards came to get Kai and Demnos back to their cells. "Why so glum?" Demnos inquired to one of the guards, a cheeky smile on his face. The guard looked at Demnos, then at the other guard. Kai's one nodded, and Demnos' one said, "We bet on the Deviljho. So don't give us any crap, or we'll chuck you down to the depth's with no questions asked."
Given the warning, Demnos shut up but continued smiling all the way back up to the lock down tower.
When there, Kai and Demnos went through the usual routine of getting thrown into their cells. The guards hadn't been too smart, and had only realised in the hallway to their cells that they hadn't taken Kai's katana. "Oh shit… you take it back down, we will get in so much crap for this…" muttered one, a panicked look on his face.
"Don't worry man, just apologise and hand it in to the arsenal." Replied the other one, slightly calmer.
"Yeah, hopefully… wait, I'm not going down there. You take it!"
"What? You're the idiot who didn't notice we hadn't taken it!" this guard had risen his voice, and Demnos and Kai peered out of the cell bars to see what would happen.
"Bullshit! You're the twat who didn't see it! I pointed it out, moron!"
"Oh, so I'm a moron now! It was a simple mistake! But noooo mister uptight wants to stay in the good books! We're PRISON GUARDS for Pete's sake!"
The first guard absolutely fumed at this, and looked about ready to punch the second guard hard in the face. Luckily for them, a third guard, the new one, came up the stairs and broke it up.
"Don't worry guys, I'll take it." He said, and a few aww's and disappointed sighs sounded from the nearby cells.
"Thanks mate. We'll get you a beer later." The two guards then left, laughing at their luck. For a minute or so, the new guard just stood there holding Kai's katana. He would have stood there longer, but Kai called out.
"Are you just gonna stand there all day holding my sword?"
A few snickers came from some of the more immature prisoners, but Kai held his gaze with the guard.
"Umm… no. I should probably take this back… yeah." The new guard only glanced up at for a moment, and Kai saw he was only a little bit older than himself.
"That guy won't last a week." Said Demnos, as the guard walked off.
Stanley hadn't expected that to happen, but the stupidity of many of the guards told him it was possible. He checked the nearest clock on his way down. Almost time, he thought. Stanley looked down at the katana in his hand, and wondered what the right thing to do was. He had five minutes. He pulled an envelope out of his pocket, still not understanding its full meaning. He had been sent to get Kai out of prison… but no other details than the time were given. Five minutes to break Kai out. "Damnit…" Stanley muttered, turning back towards the stairs.
Kai sat on his crappy bunk, back in a meditative state as he listened to Demnos talk about previous hunts he had done before getting arrested. The monotone of Demnos' voice became just noise as Kai tuned further out. But something was breaking through that noise, a tapping… no, running, somebody coming up the stairs. His eye's flicked open just as the new guard turned into the cell hallway. He still had the Wailing Cleaver in his hand, but a now had an envelope in the other. He stopped for a moment, catching his breath, then said, "Kai, this is for you."
The guard handed Kai the letter, hesitating a little, but gave it anyway. Kai studied the seal for a moment, shook it, and then carefully opened it. He turned it over, expecting a paper to drop out, but he got a small surprise as one measly zenny hit the floor with a plink. Unsure of what it was, he glanced up at the guard for a moment, but he looked pretty clueless. He picked it up, and turned it over a couple of times, once catching the light.
Then he got it.
A tiny gesture in the eyes of many, but a signal only Kai would know… Flashbacks of two years ago when Tenma revealed himself he dropped a...
"Guard. What's your name?"
"Stanley. Why? Is it important? I really have no idea why my employer would give you this, but he didn't really say much at all."
"Heheheh…" Kai chuckled to himself. Stanley was looking more and more agitated by the minute, but Kai was calm. Demnos was looking over to Kai's cell now, not sure of what was going on. "What are you doing up-" Demnos began, but was cut off as a large explosion shook the prison. Stanley was panicking now, and cried out, "They've started! You have to escape now! It's the only way either of us will get out of here!"
The Grand Trio – Chapter 4
The explosion had ripped a hole in the huge prison gate, and fires were spreading along the walls and up the watchtowers. Guards and prison staff screamed and ran from the explosion, forgetting instantly about the prisoners and keeping themselves safe. Smaller explosions were also happening, but the size of the prison blocked most from sight, leaving only the threatening sound. With all the chaos, no one would care about any extra noise…
Stanley was pacing about feverishly, looking from Kai to Demnos then to the stairs. Demnos was relaxed, hanging his arm out of the bars and sighing. Kai was standing now, the small zenny clutched in his hand. "So you haven't got keys?" Kai asked, his voice relatively calm on the surface.
"No, no. They don't give new guards keys, not until we're trustworthy enough… I'm sorry… I can't get the keys from the nearest guard; I just don't have that… strength. My employer told me YOU would know what to do." Stanley was grabbing at his hair now.
Kai pondered something for a moment, and spoke his mind. "My sword. It just might be sharp enough to slice through this door…"
Stanley looked up, hope in his eyes, but upon examining Kai's tiny cell, it faded. "You've got no room to swing it with enough power," he muttered.
Kai looked at Stanley, and wondered why on earth he had been picked to break him out. Then an idea occurred to him.
"Demnos, for the past couple of years, I've told you to make sure I stay calm. I think… I have enough pent up rage to get us out of here. I just need a trigger, so piss me off!" Kai's voice rose with excitement as he said it, and Demnos glanced across at him.
"Alright then, you failed your father. You didn't avenge him. You're a complete and utter failure," Demnos paused, "That good?"
Kai looked over to Demnos from the cell door, and said through gritted teeth, "Oh yes."
"Stanley! I think you'll want to stand back!" Kai yelled, his voice cutting through the other prisoner's panicked sounds. Stanley nodded to Kai, unsure of what was happening, but complying nonetheless.
"Two years of pent up rage, and two years to study this door… Heheh, here we go." Kai placed his hands on the back wall of the cell, facing straight towards the door. With all his might, he jumped forward with an explosive kick making the door shudder violently. A bolt gave way, but the door was still intact. Kai tried another kick, this time aiming for the weakened area. An iron bar gave way from the wall, but the door wasn't off yet. Fueling more rage and power into the last kick, threw himself against the door with a resounding BOOM. Stanley and Demnos shielded their eyes from the dust and rubble that came with the door, and when it cleared Kai had already shot off towards the stairs. "What about me!?" Demnos cried, looking to Stanley for help. But soon enough, after a few shouts stopped from the lower floor, Kai came bounding back up the stairs, the cell key in his hand. He quickly handed the key to Stanley and grabbed the sword from the wall. He shuffled around on his feet excitedly as Stanley unlocked Demnos' door, then leapt off again down the stairs, this time with Stanley and Demnos following as best they could.
Quickly getting to the bottom of the lock down tower, the situation had descended into chaos. Prisoners and guards fought and ran from the encroaching flames, and no one gave Kai or his followers a second glance.
"This way!" Stanley called as Kai began off in the opposite direction. The fires had spread mainly along the lower levels, but in controlled spaces they were causing little damage. Kai followed Stanley and Demnos; suspicious about the route they were taking. Down another stairway, this one smaller, and into watchtower, then running further on still out onto the prison wall. The morning sun blinded them for a moment, the earlier fog having cleared.
"How is this going to get us out?" Kai snarled, not bothering to hide his frustration.
"Just wait a moment!" Stanley yelped out, keeping his eyes on the next tower, which was close to the prison gate. A small explosion happened near the next tower, and a sound like a huge roar filled the air. Fires exploded from the tower windows, and people in the yard underneath the wall screamed as they realized what was happening. Finally, the tower gave way with a giant crash, breaking down part of the wall and forming a flaming hill of wreckage.
"Now's your chance! Run!" Stanley shoved Demnos and Kai forward, but Kai swiveled and glared at him.
"You're not coming?" Kai replied, angry.
"No. Don't worry about me; I'll get off this forsaken island soon. Just go!" Stanley pushed Kai once more, and then turned back towards the tower. Demnos was waiting halfway to the broken tower, and Kai caught up to him easily. Kai could see what Stanley wanted him and Demnos to do, but it was gonna be tricky…
There was a fairly wide gap between the toppled half of the tower and the slanting half, which would be there escape route. Making their way to the burnt building as fast as they could, they dodged the fires up the stones until they reached the gap. Demnos hadn't seen it, and would've nearly fallen in if not for a burst of flame, making him stumble back.
"Shit… do you reckon we can jump it?" Demnos muttered, looking down warily.
"Oh yeah, easy… just depends whether or not the stone will give way…" Kai replied, a little of the crimson in his eyes dying down.
"Eh, what the hell?" Demnos shrugged, patting Kai on the back as he went for a run up. Sprinting at the gap, just as he jumped, Kai gave Demnos a powerful shove, extending his jump even further. Demnos landed hard, rolling for a moment, but away from the gap by a few steps. It was now Kai's turn. He started at a quick pace, and then built up to a sprint, hitting the edge hard and leaping the gap. For a moment, it looked like Kai would make the jump easily and land with precision. But he had put one foot wrong in the jump, and it through him off balance causing him to stagger and fall flat on his face when he hit the stone. Demnos rushed over, and hoisted him up with his one arm.
"C'mon Kai, no time for stuff ups. We're nearly out!"
With that, the two jogged down the side of fallen tower, slipping here and there on the curved surface. As they neared freedom, they looked out to the dock, where supposedly they would escape. Something was causing small waves to break on the wood, and as they climbed down the last part of the tower, a ship sailed into view. "I think that's our get away…"
On the boat, the crew watched as the two prisoners rushed down the hill and along the dock, one looking disheveled with one arm, and the other in samurai armour. The plan had worked well, very well. Well, two years of planning shouldn't go to waste, thought the man who stood on the edge of the boat, holding his hand out to greet the escapees. He probably won't recognize me in this armour, and who the heck has he brought along? He mused to himself as the two jumped aboard.
"Welcome aboard Kai! We've all put a lot of effort in to make this day a reality, and-" the man was cut short as another man, older, recognized the cripple.
The one armed man spun around to face his accuser, and muttered "Oh bugger," before returning the greeting. "William, it's been a while."
The Grand Trio – Chapter 5
As the ship sailed along the water, cutting cleanly through the waves and the calm sea, the unexpected arrival of an unwanted passenger was causing trouble.
William walked over to Demnos, a look of recognition and utter bewilderment on his face. "You shouldn't have been at Drakus." William said, trying to figure out why an old enemy was here.
"You're right. I really shouldn't. If you'll give me some time, I can explain what happened after you left me…" Demnos began, glancing at other members of the crew.
"Please do, we have as long as it takes to reach the mainland." William replied, gesturing for Demnos to take a seat. Sitting down, Demnos began. "The hunters who you left me with never sent me to prison. We made it back to Moga's port, and on the trip they had considered all sorts of punishments for me, whether I should even be given a trial. But they didn't bother finding a small enough prison where I could slip off the Guild's radar, and just left me in Moga. I stayed there for a couple of weeks, working for the money to buy a trip back. Even though I had failed the Guild, I still wanted to be closer to home. I am no hunter, and I don't like staying to long in foreign regions. Anyway, upon my return it was as if everyone had forgotten about me. The Guild was busy with other things, so I left them to it and went about my own business. Nobody wants a mercenary with one arm, so I was kind of out of a job.
"I decided to go back to a small village I had come across in the jungle once, and I remembered wanting that place to be the sort of town I would settle down in. Took me a while to get there, but I was welcomed warmly. And I did settle down! I shaved my hair, got a job that suited my one arm, married… I thought I was safe and sound. Until five years ago, when the Guild came knocking on my door. A few soldiers with a warrant for my arrest, but didn't even know I was there… pure coincidence. I had obviously changed a fair bit since my last contact with the Guild, but one man just happened to pipe up, not even knowing it would get me arrested. It seems the Guild thought I was a bigger threat to them than I knew, and they carted me off to Drakus. That's my story, now I think you should explain what the hell is going on." Demnos finished, focusing his eyes on William.
"I can explain that," said the man who had greeted them on their arrival. Now Kai and Demnos had a better look at him, they could see clearly he wasn't very old. His suit was definitely crimson, but it was also in the style of the Guild's high-rank Tigrex armour. Kai looked up to see the mans face, and realised he was barely a man, more of a boy…
"Tenma?" Kai asked, knowing he was right but wanting evidence that this person in front of him was his friend.
"Ha-ha, took you a while," Tenma grinned.
"What IS going on here?" Kai said, now looking around at the crew to see if there was anyone else from his past.
"You've been gone for two years Kai. We had a long time to plan, the Guardian and me, and this is the result. Three of the Top 5 are on this boat, the Barioth Warrior as well, and waiting back on land is the Guardian, Makoto and Nami, another of the Top 5 and his daughter." Tenma made a large gesture with his hand, pointing out all the crewmembers. "Meet the Jumbo representative, Randhir Shaan, nicknamed 'Raj'." Tenma motioned to a man in a complete set of Rajang armour with a gunlance strapped to his back. Tenma moved, pointing to a woman now.
"The representative for Pokke, Helen Drachma. She took down the Ukanlos a while back with a bow." The woman smiled at this, her silver armour glinting in the sun.
"And the one who got us here in the first place, the youngest in the Top 5, Meagan Kolasa from Moga." The girl at the wheel gave a small nod, more focused on the ship than the people.
"Any questions?" Tenma asked cheerily, sitting down.
Kai was amazed at how well the small group had achieved it, and the powerful people they had helping them.
"Got any food?" Kai asked meekly, steadying himself as the ship sailed on.
The Grand Trio – Chapter 6
The ship sailed on through the night, only slowing when the captain went to rest, as another member on board took the helm. The morning had moved into the afternoon quickly, the crew swapping stories and finding out who they were in Minegarde. Raj, the Jumbo representative, joked around with Demnos and Kai about prison life until Demnos punched him after a particularly rude call. Helen had spoken to them now and again, and when she did it was only to talk about what would happen once they reached the mainland. It was a serious subject, and to Kai she seemed worried that the plan may still yet fail. Demnos and Kai hadn't had much time to talk to Meagan, as she didn't want to be interrupted when steering the boat. When Tenma had told them she was the youngest in the Top 5, Kai hadn't expected a fifteen-year old! But aside from both their protests, Tenma was adamant. "She is the best hunter in the entire Moga region, and also one of the best ship captains! Besides, it was not my decision that made her a Top 5 representative."
William had not been sure what to make of the situation as the day had gone by, and had been nervous when speaking with Demnos and Kai. Now, at night at the helm of the ship, he had time to think. His life had taken a weird turn ever since his 'assassination'. Every day since he had longed to return to the Citadel, to see his wife, his friends and family, just to let them know he was ok. But he had willed himself forward, and his path had led him to Tenma and the Guardian. He remembered the day well. It had been his first arrival in the Dondruma region, after all. The ship he had stowed away upon had come into dock at a small fishing port, on the edges of Dondruma city itself. Stealing away, he had avoided direct roads and instead taken the filthy back alleys. He had been studying the castle walls when it happened. A man, clad in the black clothes of a Narga Clan member, had leapt off a nearby roof and crashed into the ground near William. At first, he had not been sure what to do with this leaping man, but then another person threw himself off the same roof and tackled the black-clothed man. They scuffled for a moment, but the man in black clothing soon gave up. "Hey you man! Help me!" He had yelped, but the other man who William now saw to be only a kid, punched him in his already bloodied face. "Shut up! Don't help him he's scum. This does not concern you." The kid had said, but William stepped forward to intervene. William hadn't expected another man to be right behind him. The Guardian had put William in a lock, stopping him from moving. "Gah! Let go of me you damn ruffians! Do you know who I am!?" William had cried, struggling in the Guardian's grip.
After William had relaxed, and Tenma's interrogation finished, the two explained to him what had just happened. William had no idea what they were on about, but after a second, lengthier explanation, he decided to believe them. They had welcomed him as the Barioth Warrior with surprise and joy, but William felt more remorse than anything. His decision to join their cause was not solely to stop the Order's intentions…
A large wave smacked against the boat's side, knocking William out of his train of thought. Looking up to the sky for a moment, he could see the faint glint of the sun climbing into the clouds. A fresh sea breeze flew by, just enough to keep the drowsiness from overcoming him. Leaving the helm for a moment, William crept down to the deck to wake Meagan up. She had made her bed the closest to the helm, so William didn't have to wake any of the others up accidentally. Shaking her shoulder lightly at first, William waited to see if it worked. He himself couldn't see how anyone could sleep on a boat, but after a couple more seconds wait, she forced herself up with a large yawn.
"Is it time already?" Meagan mumbled, rubbing sleep from her eyes.
"Yes, but we're very close to the coast. Only a couple of hours sailing to go until we reach land. C'mon, I'll make breakfast while you get to steering." William replied, steadying himself as the boat swayed.
"Alright… one sec." Rolling off the makeshift bed, Meagan skillfully attached her torso and waist armor in a moment. The silver Ceadeus armor was a brilliant achievement, one worthy of the Moga representative. As she went to the helm, William quietly moved to the food storage barrels. As he rummaged around, wondering what to make, he thought back again, this time to the day they had met Meagan.
William had expected Kai and Demnos to protest Meagan's involvement, but it was true what Tenma said… she was one of the best to help. Her mind unpolluted by the Guild, having grown up in Moga, she had the trust of the people as well as the fame. He had often wondered why kids so young even wanted to become hunters, but had often wound up at the same solution. It was part of their heritage. Hunting is one occupation were you have total control of the situation, and the job you do contributes to the country. All kids want to have a sense of strength, a sense of control when their parents determine their lives. William knew the feeling all to well, and remembered when Brandon had first wanted to join him in a hunt. The thought of Brandon brought tears to William's eyes, and he cast the thoughts aside as he picked out some rations to go with herbivore egg omelet. Carrying the food up to the helm along with a portable spit, he saw that the sun had risen higher, making the water shine.
An hour later, as the rest of the crew woke up, Meagan let out a large yell of triumph. Not realizing what was going on, the crew rushed up to the helm to see what was wrong, but William just laughed as Meagan pointed to the front of the ship. "Land ho!" She laughed, smiling.
Everyone turned to see, and right on the horizon, Minegarde revealed itself.
"Home at last!" Kai shouted, grinning.
The Grand Trio – Chapter 7
Morning had finally reached its brightest point, and Minegarde was lit up magnificently from the sea. Looking to the right of the ship, or properly north, the Snowy Mountains could be glimpsed in the distance, large clouds accumulating around the peaks. Straight-ahead, towns and other boats where scattered across the coastline like ants, with the Great Forest lying behind them. To the southeast, darker clouds formed over the Old Volcano, and Kai guessed if he had a telescope he could spot Dondruma amongst the hills and sand. Returning home after two years was a good feeling, but it was bittersweet as he thought back to the purpose of his break out.
The ship was to dock along the shoreline close to a forest area, where the rest of the so-called resistance would be waiting. It was getting very close to its destination now, and everyone onboard had packed up his or her equipment. Tenma stood in his Tigrex 'X' Armour, looking out for anyone on shore. William was talking with Demnos, his full Barioth armour still on from being on the night watch. Two of the three Top 5 hunters, Raj and Helen, were busy moving crates of supplies around, whilst Meagan continued to steer the ship. Kai joined in helping, glad to be able to not think of serious matters just yet. Another ten minutes passed, and the ship slowed as it came into the shallows. Meagan left the wheel for a minute to throw the anchor overboard, and Kai rushed up to join Tenma at the front of the boat. The forest area wasn't very big, but large enough to conceal the group of people who were emerging from it now.
Most of them Kai knew, but there were a few he didn't. The Guardian walked towards the boat; ready to catch the rope Tenma was throwing him. Nami and Makoto looked up at Kai, and they smiled. Seeing the ship wasn't far to the ground, Kai leapt over the side and splashed down face-first in the shallows. Raj stifled a laugh, but Kai quickly got up to embrace his friends.
"I missed you guys…" Kai sighed, easing out of the hug.
"We missed you to!" Nami replied, and Kai thought he saw a tear for a moment.
"Yeah, but next time you do something rash, bring us along!" Makoto laughed, but turned serious, "Seriously now, we're you're friends. We support you, and we're here to help."
"I know guys, but if you'd seen me that time… anyway, that's in the past and I've changed. I can control my rage now."
"Good, because you know what we have to do now you're back." Makoto told him sternly.
"But… that can wait until we are in a safe area, o.k. Makoto?" Nami said through gritted teeth, punching Makoto.
Most of the crew had already jumped down, but Demnos was having trouble. Fed up with Demnos' blubbering, William got back up on the ship and pushed him off into the shallows. "DAMN IT WILL!" Demnos cried, attempting to get up in the water with his one arm.
"You seem like a rather angry man."
Demnos glanced up, having gotten into a sitting position, his clothes soaked. William also looked over, seeing the new arrival. "Hello, Alex. How have things been going since our trip?"
Alex looked up, his shining Silver Sol Z armour glinting off the water.
"Good, actually. It was nice not having a bunch of show offs around." Alex smirked at this, but Will and Demnos knew it was good-natured.
"Come on, we need to get going." Alex hauled Demnos out of the water, with little effort on his part. Alex was strong for an old man, but less strong than the Guardian. He had a hardened face, tanned from years spent in the desert of Moga. His hair was short and grey, with black in some places. His short beard was also grey, and contrasted with his silver armour. He was tall, taller than Demnos and Will anyway. Alex turned round, noticing Kai for the first time. He does look like Ryouji… he thought, wandering over.
Nami and Makoto went over to Tenma to review the breakout, and Kai sat on the beach, enjoying the sea breeze. "Hey there. We haven't met before, I'm Alex." Kai glanced up, seeing the silver armour.
"Nice to meet you. Sit down." Kai motioned to the sand, and Alex slumped down next to him.
"I'm a friend of the Guardians. Did you hear anything about me from him when you travelled a couple of years ago?"
"No. You're completely new to me. As are those two…" Kai pointed at the other members he hadn't met, they were helping unload the ship and were talking with Helen and Raj.
"Yeah… I'll let them introduce themselves. If I may, I would like to tell you of a story of mine. About a man I once met. His name was Ryouji."
"Go ahead." Kai stated, interested now.
"It was years ago, back when I first met the Guardian. We were still pretty much kids, well, Ryouji and me were. The Guardian was a skilled hunter, but he was new to Moga. Anyway, we had travelled a long way together before we met your father. He was passing through a hunting town in the Moga Volcano gathering supplies before chasing a runaway Tigrex. We talked with him, and were a bit surprised when he went and straight out told us he was the Tigrex Warrior!" Alex paused, chuckling at the memory.
"Hahaha, yeah, he had a habit of doing that." Kai laughed as well, becoming more intrigued with every word.
"Anyway, the Guardian of course wanted to help him straight away. He wouldn't pass up a chance to hunt with someone so famous, but we had some other business with a Rathalos first. We eventually met up with him later and found it in the Plains and fought it. I saw his rage, but it was how he used it that was the most interesting thing. He could phase in and out of it in the blink of an eye… I don't know if you've picked up that technique yet?"
"No… He would've taught me, like his mother taught him. He didn't get a chance." Kai said, sadness tinging his words.
"Ahh… well, we finished the hunt with the beast, and were carving it when Ryouji gave out a large yell of joy. The darn professional knew where to carve, and carved himself a Heavenly Scale! But you know what? He did the most selfless thing I'd seen. He gave it to me. He must've seen the look on my face or something, but he gave it to me."
"Is that it?" Kai spoke, a little disappointed.
"No, actually. Before he gave it to me, he carved something on it. A symbol of some sort, I've never been able to translate it. He told me to give it to the next Tigrex Warrior when the time was right. So… it's around here somewhere, stupid old los ruby…" Alex paused to rummage around in a secret pouch, and in a moment drew out a brilliant yellow scale.
"Here it is…" Alex said, a look of awe in his eyes. He lowered it from the sunlight, and handed it to Kai.
"But… I know I'm the next Tigrex Warrior, but do you think I'll be able to solve this symbol?"
"He also said you would know what it means." Alex stated, unimpressed with Kai's negativity.
"O.K, I'll have a look when we get to our destination. Where are we headed anyway?"
"To an old Guild fort in the forest. Completely secluded, its abandoned." Alex replied matter of fact.
"Alright… I'm gonna go see who the other two are then." Kai got up, and helped Alex up as well.
The crew had finished unloading the ship, and were halfway done with packing the barrels into a cart driven by two large Bullfango. Thank god they're harnessed, Kai thought, grimacing at the Bullfango's slobber. Now he had a better look at the newcomers, he saw the armour they were clad in was amazing. The man's was a bright blue, with gold and silver inlaid. He looked like a samurai, but Kai knew it was only the armours design… As he neared closer, he tried to figure out who would have that kind of armour.
"Hello! I'm Kai, we haven't met yet."
The two turned round, and Kai realised that the second person was a girl, maybe a little younger than Meagan. The man shook Kai's out held hand, and introduced himself. "Great to finally meet you Kai. We've heard a lot about you. I'm General Jeff of the Minegarde Army, Second in the Top 5, and former Commander of the Dragonslayers. This is my daughter, Jenny."
"Hi," Jenny said, waiting for Kai to reply.
Kai stood still, his mouth gaping open, lost for words in the sheer awe of the hunter standing before him. Jeff looked at his daughter who wasn't sure what Kai was doing either, and then cleared his throat.
"Umm… are you okay?" Jeff said in his deep voice.
Kai's mouth managed some sort of control, and turned into a grin. "Its just… so… awesome… having you here, helping… but, how?" Kai pulled Jeff into a hug, but received a sharp kick to the ribs from Jenny.
"HEY! He's not that awesome!" She yelled, with a strength Kai had never seen in a twelve-year old girl.
"O.K… ow… that was a hard kick… Anyway," Kai gasped, getting his breath back, "It's good to have someone as powerful and influential as you in the Guild. May I ask, how did you find out about the Order of the Black Dragon?"
"Oh, I didn't. It was Jenny who discovered what they were hiding, and she made me realise how much danger we are all in." Jeff said happily, smiling at Jenny.
After Kai recovered from his kick and the wagon was loaded, the small band of hunters set off into the forest. The Bullfango's took off when William whipped them, and soon they had paved a trail through the forest. Quickly, Helen and the Guardian set about covering up the trail with fallen bracken from the trees. Trudging along, Kai wondered where this area was in relation to any of the major hunting grounds. To far along to be the Great Forest, he mused, I'll just ask the Guardian. "Guardian!"
"Yes?" the Guardian called from up ahead. Kai jogged down and fell into step beside his old guide.
"I've been wondering where this fort is in relation to the major hunting grounds."
"Ah, yes. It's in a small gap between the Forest and Hills, and the Kokoto Jungle. The fort itself is an abandoned, well, arena, I guess. It has a large open space in the centre, that we've been using to train in."
"Great… have we got enough supplies?" Kai asked, suddenly remembering his damaged armour and one weapon.
"Haha, of course. We've been moving all our weapons, armour and supplies to this place for a while. Don't worry we got yours as well. The Tigrex Samurai and the Barioth Knights are behind us in our mission, Kai. We'll be fine, just as long as we stop the Order of the Black Dragon from their goals." The Guardians voice grew serious, and Kai knew where he was coming from. Rounding a sharp corner of rock in the forest, the group witnessed the first glimpse of sanctuary, their base of operations.
The Grand Trio – Chapter 8
The fort that lay in the forest was big – big enough for the group to train and live in. It was covered in moss, and a large tree was growing through the center, with branches breaking already weakened walls. But the inside was completely different – once past the disheveled, yet still strong gate, the fort's interior was outfitted to house a battalion. The rooms which retained the most warmth were reserved for sleeping quarters, whilst larger and more open rooms were chock full of equipment. Will had let the Bullfango's off after they had rushed into the fort's arena, and was unpacking the wagon as Kai and the Guardian stepped into the open space.
"Ahh, feels good to be back in a safe place…" The Guardian sighed, stretching as he sat down on the nearest step. Kai scanned the arena, noticing several wooden structures planted in the ground. There were targets placed at one wall, whilst the middle of the arena was reserved for a complex maze of spinning combat practice mannequins.
"Was all this here when you arrived?" Kai asked inquisitively, watching the others come through the fort's entrance.
"Nope. We set it up with wood from further out, and then used anything left over from what we cut down to set up traps." The Guardian now had his hands behind his head as a makeshift pillow.
"Good. Don't fall asleep there now." Kai replied, walking over to help William. The old Monster Warrior seemed to be in deep thought, so Kai waited and helped with the supplies before talking to him. He knew it had been two years since the death of Brandon, the next Barioth Warrior, but it had taken Kai longer than that to overcome his father's death.
"You want to ask me something. What is it?" William said suddenly, throwing Kai off. "I can tell by the way you're holding yourself, and the look on your face. I was a father you know." Will smiled at this.
"Yes, I know…" Kai began, searching for the words to say.
"Is it about him? My son?" Will said, starting it off for him.
"Yes… I wanted to ask you how you were doing with that." Kai replied, trying not to mumble.
"Let me tell you something Kai," William leant closer, speaking with a low voice now. "Do you know what it feels like to have your own CHILD murdered in front of your eyes? Do you know what its like to not be there for my family? There's only ONE reason I keep going. Because I know, when all this planning, and talking, becomes REALITY, there'll be one person right there to see it. And I will be right behind him, with a dagger pointed at his back."
Kai, instead of taking a step back, held out his hand.
"Well then. When you do come to that moment, make sure you let him know the pain he's caused." Kai's eyes were serious, and he locked his gaze with Will as they shook hands.
"Now, we've got some stuff to do." Kai spoke cheerily, turning to the rest of the group.
Night fell on the forest, and after Jeff and Jenny headed off, the resistance settled down to business. They were sat in the largest and warmest hall in the fort, around a large meeting table. Nami and Makoto sat nearest to Kai, whilst Tenma stood next to the Guardian, who was having a hard time keeping awake in the chair. Will sat next to Raj and Helen, and Meagan sat near them. Demnos was talking in a low voice with Alex, as he had little idea of what was happening.
Tenma suddenly spoke up, "ALRIGHT! We have something to discuss with Kai and Demnos. I want your full attention, because I won't be saying it twice. It has taken us a long couple of years, planning, infiltrating, and some sheer luck, but now we're ready to take on the full task ahead. The Order of the Black Dragon, or the OBD, has been covertly polluting Minegarde with their own ways. It's pretty much a cult, dedicated to one thing…"
Tenma paused for effect, and everyone in the room held their breath.
"… To resurrecting the one thing all hunters fear the most. Our worst enemy in the field, the most destructive and horrific dragon ever born… the Fatalis."
Kai understood now what was going on – the sudden realization of why his father had been killed, why he had been jailed, and why the Guardian was so terrified by the mere mention of the cult.
"Impossible… nothing can be resurrected. It's just impossible!" Demnos gasped, not sure how to handle the situation.
"Well, that's where the luck comes in. By some miracle, Jenny discovered the OBD's meeting place in Dondruma, and after hearing their intentions, went investigating into the city's history. The OBD have been behind major developments and problems over the years – all because of some prophecy."
"Wait, what? What prophecy?" Kai asked, confused by this new information.
"Well, I think it's pretty stupid, but they want to bring back the Fatalis because of a prophecy. The prophet got a lot of people scared a while back, and the paranoid ones banded together to make sure they weren't left behind when the prophecy came about."
"But what IS the prophecy?"
"I'll answer that." The Guardian seemed more awake now, and eager to contribute his own knowledge. "It was about the future. A future, in which monsters covered the planet. They became more and more dangerous as our OWN civilization advanced, with huge towers being toppled because hunters failed to push a single monster back. And not even elder dragons causing the destruction, just regular monsters. The world was moving on, but those who listened to intently to the prophet, became too paranoid. They wanted to destroy all the monsters, so there was no chance of the destruction ever occurring. The way to do that…"
"The Fatalis." Tenma finished.
"Hang on- you still haven't told us HOW they can resurrect those horrors?" Demnos asked, more confused.
"Ah, right, I kinda wandered off there… they aren't technically resurrecting them… more like, giving birth to?" Tenma grimaced at the oddness of his own words.
"Basically guys, they have three Fatalis eggs hidden at different locations, and they plan on hatching them."
Kai and Demnos spun their heads to see who had spoken, then realized it was Helen. She didn't talk much, so it was odd hearing her sound so confident. Whilst the discussion continued, with each person throwing theories around on where the eggs could be, someone was sprinting. Not on the ground, no, he was too agile and needed the stealth of the large trees. Bounding along a branch, he leaped the gap to the next tree with ease. Remembering to keep quiet as he neared the fort, he slowed his pace, but still kept at a run. Getting into the fort was the tricky part – tracking the group, and finding the fort, had been easy. Over the wall and up through the hallways, he mused, or through a window and down? Deciding quickly, he realized he was very close to the fort and jumped, flipped and landed in a room through the window. Glancing about quickly, he patted his weapon just incase. Seeing and hearing no one, he stood to his full height, then snuck down the hallways towards the meeting room. He knew that's where they where: the signs of people moving towards the room were everywhere. He approached the door, easing up on the stealth now as he tried to listen in on what was happening…
"…We already know one of the egg's locations: Dondruma. You're just randomly suggesting areas!" Tenma cried, flinging his arms up to accentuate the silliness of what had been said.
"Hey, we don't know for sure that one can't be in the ocean. It would make a bit of sense to hide it where no one can get it, don't you think?" Raj replied, a sly smile on his face.
"GRRR! The OBD aren't that stupid though! They need the eggs, and there must be SOME kind of pattern in which they placed them!" Tenma fumed, already fed up with Raj. The others started laughing, but a thud from outside stopped the joking. Drawing their weapons, a few went to see what made the noise, when the door swung open and a man stumbled in flat on his face.
"Oww…" he muttered, before looking up and realizing what had happened.
Demnos walked in behind him, carrying a block of wood.
"I found this guy listening in on our conversation when I came back from the toilet, so I clocked him one." Demnos swung the piece of wood menacingly, before grinning.
"So, what's your name kid? And why, or more importantly, how, are you here?" William said, pointing his switch-axe at the man's forehead.
"Hello, I'm Zhi. Sorry for eavesdropping, I wasn't sure how to introduce myself… I'm the Nargacuga Warrior."
"Bullshit." Kai said, his katana at the ready as well. "I fought the Narga Warrior. It was a woman, Lien."
"That's my sister. Obviously, you didn't think of all the possibilities… But no matter, I'm here to help you against the Order."
"Are you serious?" This was Will's turn to speak up, "There's more than one or two Narga Warriors? And who says you aren't trying to trick us?"
"Yes, to answer your first question, there are technically FOUR Narga Warriors, but Lien is never going to fight again thanks to him," Zhi pointed at Kai, "But isn't the fact I'm even HERE and not trying to kill you a good enough reason to give me a chance?"
"Guys, back off." The Guardian, like most times, stepped in and calmed the men. "I've met him before, he's a good kid." The men backed off, sheathing their weapons and letting the Guardian explain.
"Zhi… I haven't seen you since you were little, in the Swamp. What happened?" The Guardian said gently, being as kind as he could.
"My father happened. After mum died, he took over our lives. Forced us to train hard, dampened our traits so we all had one each… mines Tracking, by the way, that's how I found you. I left the Hidden City because I heard about you, and I want to help." Zhi's voice descending into a plead, as his hope of redemption seemed to drop.
"Well, I guess that means we're the Grand Trio." Tenma said confidently, walking forward ahead of the others. "I'm Tenma, a Tigrex Samurai, and the leader of this resistance. Welcome to the group!" Tenma smiled warmly and held out his hand, hoisting Zhi to his feet.
"Thank you so much!" Zhi said, fighting back tears, "Now what is happening with the Order?"
Tenma scowled, whilst the others burst into laughter.
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