Monster Hunter Legends: The Tigrex's Rage
Date Started: 24 April 2010
Date Finished: 24 May 2010
The Tigrex's Rage – Prologue
The year 208, modern times, after the separation of Monsters and Humans
Brandon stared out over the icy hills of the tundra, a habit inherited from his father, William. Over his years, Brandon had been stubborn to learn the Barioth Knights ways and codes – but he was grateful for being the Barioth Warrior, and having grown up in a loving family. His father was aging more, now he was in his fifties – he had a full grey moustache, and preferred to wear a coat over his armour. That was the thing with being a hunter – you stayed strong for your life, but strength was nothing if you died due to a silly mistake. Because of this, many hunters did not live past the age of thirty.
"Thought you'd be out here." William said, walking up to his son on the Citadels wall. "Come on in, everyone's waiting for you. And it'll be night soon - if you stay out to long you'll freeze." Brandon laughed, and walked with his father back to the Citadels living areas. The wind was making a high-pitched sound, indicating to the watchers on guard that there may be a blizzard coming from over the ice cliffs. Brandon turned round as he got to the door, looking up at the watchtower opposite. The guard on duty waved and gave the "all clear" signal, and Brandon waved back. Just as he was about to turn and go inside, the watchman yelled and fell over the tower, clutching his neck. Brandon ran over to the man, calling for help. William ran out the door, just as he saw a man in black cut down his son. The watchman had been a distraction. "Too easy," the man said, turning to William, "the whole families here!" William could now see the man clearly. He was clothed head to toe in black, which seemed to be over sleek armour. His face was covered in a black bandana, which hid everything but his eyes. In the night, they flashed red.
"Murderer…" snarled William. "Oh, that word. So uncivilised." Replied the man in black. "You just killed my SON, you bastard! You think that isn't uncivilised?! HUH?!" William's voice rose with his temper. He wanted to kill that man where he stood. The mans eyes grew cold now, and he said, slowly, "You won't grieve for much longer." The man made a sudden movement, and something stabbed into William's gut. His hands went down to the spot, and grasped a throwing knife. Before he could pull it out though, the man landed a powerful kick to William's chest, throwing him over the side of the Citadel. His body rolled as it hit the snow, and he tumbled trailing a streak of blood. Looking up, the last thing William saw before he blacked out was that man, his bandana pulled down, grinning.
William woke up a couple of hours later, in the dead of night. "EEARRRGHH!!!" He had forgotten for a moment about the knife in his gut. Lying back in the snow, William gritted his teeth and grabbed the knife. After a few moments of excruciating pain and loud screaming, William flung the knife away into the snow. He lay there in the snow, blood covering his hands, and trying not to fall asleep again. Tearing some of the lighter material from his coat, he wrapped his wound in a barely plausible bandage. William suddenly remembered something at the back of his mind. That man had killed his son. Tears fell down William's face, but he brushed them away before they could freeze. He sobbed loudly, and cursed his ancestor for learning the Barioth's ways. If it hadn't been for two of its traits, endurance and heat, William would be dead, and wouldn't have to go through this grief. He couldn't go back, that man would find out and come back. He knew where the Citadel was. Fighting back sobs, William staggered to his feet. Wrapping his coat around him, he headed off into the tundra. He would find out what was happening, and he would make whoever that man was pay.
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 1
Up in the mountains of Pokke, lies the temple of the Tigrex Samurai. All hunters know this. Many have sought guidance and help against the Tigrex – and all have been given the same answer, "Fight it as though YOU are the Tigrex – fight it with all the rage and power it would against you."
In Kai's case, this was more than a metaphor to not let up in attacking. He was the Tigrex Warrior – he had the Tigrex's rage, power and speed. Over ten years, he had honed these abilities with no hints or help, other than an old book given to the elders by on of his ancestors. It had listed the abilities, but it was Kai who had to figure out their meaning. Now, sparring with his friend Makoto, it was a match to remember. The Head Samurai against the Tigrex Warrior, in a Kendo final. In his helmet, Makoto grinned and bowed to Kai. On the other side of the square, Kai's face was set, and he returned the bow. Many of the junior Samurai where gathered, to watch along with their teachers. The other kendoka that had been knocked out earlier in the tournament had left. They had important things to do. Kai and Makoto where now into the match, circling each other. Kai made a feint, but Makoto didn't fall for it. Seeing an opening, Makoto went for the strike. Too late, he realized it had been Kai's intention to leave an opening. Kai span quickly and got a small strike on Makoto's glove – the point was his. Coming back to the centre, Kai was now grinning. At the signal, Makoto went straight forward with a kihon strike and got Kai heavily on the helmet. It was Makoto's point, but he was given a warning. Kai had lost his grin, and was now prepared. A half point to a full point… on more full hit and Makoto would win.
But Kai knew Makoto too well – his friend got cocky. Kai went into a defensive stance as Makoto tried to land strike after strike, but to no avail. Pushing backwards suddenly, Kai got a full point on Makoto's chest plate. It was a close match – one more point each to finish it. Kai rushed Makoto, but Makoto pushed back. Kai tried to break away, but in an unseen move, Makoto tripped Kai and got a full strike on the way down. The crowd cheered, and Makoto held out his hand to Kai. Kai grinned and stood up, shaking his friends hand. Afterwards, in the hallway out of the dojo, Nami stopped them. "Well done, both of you!" she said happily. Nami was the Hunting Administrator now, which meant she was gone on quests and Guild involved matters a lot. Makoto and Kai hadn't seen in her in a while, so they where surprised how she knew about the tournament. "I got back last night! I just didn't want to wake you guys up, and then I was really tired in the morning." She told them at a nearby table. "So, was it a big hunt this time, or Guild matters?" asked Makoto. "Guild matters. But it was very irritating – we went all the way to Dondruma, then they didn't even give us enough of what we came for!"
"What DID you go for in the first place? You didn't tell us…" asked Kai.
"Well… the elders and I where trying to get more hunter exchange with Pokke, but their Guild Master didn't know how, so we went to Dondruma, and then they told us we couldn't have any hunters." Nami explained.
"Well that hardly seems fair." Said Makoto.
At that moment, a messenger ran through the room, barging past a few people out towards the elder's hall. "What was that about?" asked an elderly Samurai from a nearby table. "D'you reckon we should go find out?" asked Nami, in a curious tone. "Ok. But it better not get us in trouble." Walking towards the elder's hall, they noticed that other Samurai were headed there too. The door was already open, as the messenger had left it like that when he rushed in. The elders had been expecting someone to follow, and had allowed the boy a moment of rest before he told them the message. Samurai slowly filled into the hall, and were talking away until the Grand Elder put up his hand for silence. "Now. Speak, messenger."
"…Ok. I have news, from the Moga region. The Barioth Knights, have had both their Monster Warriors assassinated. There were no witnesses to the event, but the Knight's report states: 'a guard on patrol found the son's body. He had been slashed in the neck, and was next to a wounded watchman who had fallen', err, it gets a bit gruesome, shall I continue?"
"Ok…'there was blood near the Citadel wall, and on further inspection, blood was also found trailed in the snow'," at this someone in the hall gasped. "A knife was also found, of unknown origin, further out in the snow. As we have found the son, we believe this to be the father's blood. No sign was found of the body, but he is presumed buried in the ice from the blizzard of that night.' That is the message, Grand Elder."
Everyone in the hall was silent. The Grand Elder spoke. "This is grave indeed. Everyone who is NOT part of the group of elders, please leave this room."
People began to leave the room, and those that were part of the group of elders moved towards the Grand Elder. "How will we handle this situation?" said Makoto, trying to make light of what had happened. "There are two ways, young Samurai. We can go and speak directly to the Guild, or we can talk with the Nargacuga clan." "Grand Elder, why the Nargacuga clan?" this was Kai's old sensei, who had retired to become an elder a few years ago. "It strikes me as curious, that in the years that we lost our first Tigrex Warrior, the Narga Clan have had no contact with us, save for hunting."
"I believe, Grand Elder, that it was assumed to be a Narga Clan assassin that killed my father." Said Kai, eager to have input on the matter.
"Yes, that was what was assumed. But we cannot make assumptions without evidence Kai. I know you are eager for the truth, but we cannot risk attacking the Narga Clan, not now."
"Well then at least let me speak with them! Send me to the Great Forest, Grand Elder, and I will find out what is going on! We have done NOTHING about the Narga Clan for TEN YEARS!!" Kai roared, fuming.
The Grand Elder looked at Kai, as though he was judging him. Kai kept his gaze steady, trying to look confident. "I will talk this over with the other elders. Until then, you will go about your normal day." Said the Grand Elder, motioning for Kai to leave. Kai stood still, until Makoto nodded to his friend to leave. As Kai reached the hall's door, he turned back and said "I hope you make the right decision."
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 2
The elder's hall stood as a beacon of light in the dark, cold night. Many of those that were not needed had left the meeting in its early stages, but now only the senior Samurai were left talking. They had still not come to a decision. There were two views on the situation: firstly, they could send a group to the Guild, and demand a safe meeting with the Narga Clan elders. Or, the more favorable option at the moment, send Kai to the Narga Clan, with a supporting force of Samurai waiting to back up Kai. The Grand Elder, who was in favor of the first option, said, "We cannot risk upsetting the alliance we have now! If we get the Guild's support, we can at least talk with the Narga Clan peacefully. If we send Kai, there's no telling what will happen! I do not see how you can argue for a barbaric mission!"
Kai's old sensei spoke up now. "If you do decide on going to see the Guild, there is no telling what Kai will do. It is better to back up his mission, so if he fails, we can talk with the Guild anyway. It also satisfies Kai's need for the truth."
There was a murmur of approval in the group. Another Samurai spoke up. "Grand Elder, just agree with sending Kai. We have been at this for hours! We can always change things if need be."
The Grand Elder sighed, knowing he was defeated. "Fine. I will allow you to send Kai to the Great Forest," the group cheered, "On one condition – he must travel alone. It will force him to do nothing rash, and we can conduct other things without wasting Samurai." Most of the group agreed, but others thought it was foolish to send one man, on his own to the Great Forest. Up in the rafters of the hall, another person thought so too.
Kai woke leisurely, stumbling out of bed when someone started knocking on his door. "Who is it?" he called out, fully awake after his ling rest. "It's me, Nami. Hurry up, slow-poke!"
Kai opened the door, and Nami walked in, sitting down at his breakfast table. "What brings you here so early?" Kai joked.
"Ha-ha. This is no time for jokes, Kai! The Grand Elder decided."
"And?" Kai looked up in expectation.
"And… he will send you to the Great Forest. But he made it that you had to travel alone! He has put most Samurai to work, other than the elders who he has contacting the Guild in Pokke."
"And… you see a problem with this?" Kai responded, looking at Nami puzzlingly.
"Well, how are you going to make it to the Great Forest alone? There are countless monsters out there, and finding the Narga Clan's village hasn't been done by outsiders ever!"
Kai smiled. Nami never worried about anything, but she was worrying about him. "Don't worry Nami. If the Grand Elder says I have to travel alone, so be it. But that doesn't mean I have to."
"Kai, no-one can come with you. Everyone's working. I told you! The Grand Elder-" Nami noticed Kai was grinning.
"I'm going to find him." Kai's grin widened, and he hugged Nami.
No one was there to see Kai off, except for the Grand Elder. Makoto had left a note saying goodbye, but that was all. Kai was standing in his full armor, a combination of Tigrex materials and Samurai crafting techniques. His Wailing Cleaver shone on his back in the sunlight. "Alright then," said the Grand Elder, "Off on your way. Good luck."
"Thanks…" Kai muttered, bowing to the Grand Elder. Turning to leave, Kai felt pride swell inside him. He was beginning his quest for the truth, after ten, long years. Walking down the pathway out of the mountains, Kai wondered if he would ever return to the temple. Looking up at the sun, he smiled. He was going to be ok.
Unknown to him, he was not the only person to leave the temple without an audience. In a house near the wall that formed the temple's defenses, a small figure hopped lightly down over the wall. Watching the Tigrex Warrior walk down the path, the mysterious person waited, and followed.
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 3
Kai's first day of travel had been easy. Reaching Pokke village by mid afternoon, he had bought some supplies from the locals and headed down through the regions gate. He was now in free territory, just him and the monsters. He pulled out his map, and looking for the jungle, located his destination. He had wanted to avoid the swamp, but it looked as though he would end up camping there for the night.
Now, Kai was setting up traps around his camp. The swamp was the gap between the mountains and the jungle, a harsh area with numerous powerful monsters. The sun was going down, and it cast an eerie glow on the swamp. Kai could hear a party of hunters far off, fighting what sounded like an Iodrome and its pack. Their odd screeching was perfect for the strange surroundings. Finishing his last trap, Kai went back to his tent. It was set up on high ground, a fair way from the nearest cave. Hunters were usually not taught how to set up a camp – the Guild made sure hunters never had to hunt longer than a day. That, and the Guild supplied camps ready made for the hunters. For the Samurai however, a lot of their hunts were unofficial, so the Samurai were taught how to survive in the wild, protected from monsters in the night. Kai's tent was camouflaged by its green colour, blending in to the moss covered stone. The moon was rising now, and Kai could see the odd poisonous puddles appearing down in the marsh lowlands. "Poor sucker who steps in them…" he said to himself.
"Aww… shit!" cried the mysterious follower. He had just stepped in an odd purple puddle, and he was starting to feel woozy. Quickly grabbing an antidote, he sculled the whole thing till he felt better. Kai's follower had also set up camp, under a rock ledge. It gave natural protection from monsters, and also cut down on a lot of time putting up a tent. He had had the worst luck following Kai. He had managed to lose him for a while upon first entering the swamp, and then got into a fight with a Shogun Ceanataur, slowing him down even more! "Darn it." He muttered as he stepped in another puddle.
Night passed, and Kai woke early. He packed up camp quickly, and was soon on his way across the swamp. He had chosen to take a direct route cutting across a corner of the swamp, which would take him to the river that eventually flowed into the jungle. Kai wondered how he was going to find his guide to the Great Forest. His path through the swamp was mainly over high ground, away from the marshes and caves. A sound caught his attention. It had been a tumble of rocks, or something… he couldn't be sure. Looking to the east, he recalled the rumours he had heard as a teen about the mercenary village hidden in the swamp. They were supposedly concealed in an extremely harsh marshland, a favourite habitat for lethal monsters. He continued walking, and hours later the swamp had melted away. He was now in an unnamed forest, which he supposed led to jungle. A roar echoed off in the distance, and Kai quickened his pace. He wanted to avoid monsters as best he could, as it would only slow him down. Another roar, this time closer. Looking around, Kai could only see the forest. A shadow passed over the trees, and Kai looked up just in time to spy a Rathian flying off.
The Rathian had shocked Kai's follower, and he had nearly given up his hiding place in fright. He hadn't been out this far out in the wild before – he had mainly stuck to the mountains and swamps, with a couple of trips to the desert. Looking down from the tree he was up in, he saw Kai start jogging, obviously trying to avoid the Rathian. Following through the trees as best he could, he lost sight of Kai once or twice among the dense foliage. He continued on, and roughly a half hour later, came to a stop. He had spotted the end of the trees – and also Kai. Kai was down at a stream, looking up and down, as if he was deciding which way to go. The follower leant forward, trying to see the stream more clearly, and felt something drop from his pocket.
Kai could not remember the stream well. He had been to a point in its travel once before, where it became a river, but had never been this far up. He sat down, and just as he did, heard a soft clink. Turning around quickly, he noticed a shining object glint in the sunlight. Getting up and walking over, he looked down. It was a small zenny, Minegarde's currency. He sighed, and realized what had been making the strange noises. Looking up, a boy dropped out of the trees just in front of him. "Hello, Tenma."
"Hey Kai…" murmured Tenma. He was short for a boy his age, his Tigrex armour having been re-sized.
"You realize your brother is going to kill you when he finds out you've been following me." Said Kai, giving Tenma his sternest look.
"You'd really send me back? I'm here to help you! I just…"
"Just… the Grand Elder made it sound so terrible, making you go alone. I wanted to help you out originally, but then I got used to sneaking around. I heard the Grand Elder's meeting. He didn't seem to like you much." Tenma said, avoiding Kai's eyes.
Suddenly, Kai laughed. "You're the complete opposite of your brother! Not in the eavesdropping part, but in the way you would go against the elders! Ha!"
"So… you're not sending me back to the temple?" asked Tenma, hopeful.
Kai looked at Tenma seriously now, as if deeming him strong enough to help. "Ok. I won't, but I will send word to your brother. Makoto will be really worried about you."
Shaking hands, Kai explained the situation to Tenma, and how he was going to find a guide to help them. "You think we'll be lucky enough to find him?" asked Tenma, not sure of Kai's idea. "I'm not so sure either, but we can try."
Kai and Tenma had already walked a fair way down the stream, and the greenery had changed to a more jungle based one. Kai suddenly stopped and flung his arm out to stop Tenma as well. "What?"
"Quiet." Replied Kai. Up ahead, there was a rustle in the trees. Then a loud screech broke the silence, and the Rathian from before burst out onto their path. Unsheathing their weapons, Kai and Tenma got ready to fight.
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 4
The Rathian's wail filled Kai and Tenma's ears as it charged at them. My Wailing Cleaver will make short work of it, thought Kai. Kai moved into an attack stance, but before he could strike Tenma ran forward. Tenma was slicing wildly with his sword, making the Rathian flinch a little. Unluckily, it realised that Tenma was missing with most of his attacks. Kai went in to strike again, but he was caught with a tailspin that flung him off his feet.
Tenma struck out at the Rathian's face, making it yelp in pain. "Ha!" Tenma cried, thinking he had the Rathian under control. The Rathian brought its head back to look at Tenma, who realised it was in rage. "…Awww, come on!" he cried, running towards the river as the Rathian aimed a fireball his way. Reaching the riverbank, he spun round with his shield up, and noticed Kai getting up again. The Rathian was focused on Tenma, but for how long?
Tenma dared a taunt. "Come get me yah stupid wyvern!" At that, the Rathian charged. As it ran on, Kai came in from the side and sliced down with his katana, severing the Rathian's tail. It tripped in pain, stopping dangerously close to Tenma. Seeing an escape, Tenma ran towards Kai.
Kai had his katana levelled at the Rathian as it got up. It roared, and Tenma covered his ears, but Kai kept a steady gaze. The Rathian seemed to be confused for a moment, then yelped and flew off. Kai watched it go until it was safely out of sight. "Whoa! That was good as Kai! You just came in, and WOOSH! Off with its tail! Heheh… Kai?" Tenma queried, looking up at Kai. Kai lowered his eyes and glared at Tenma. Tenma made a sort of whine sound, and said, "No wonder the Rathian flew off…" No sooner had he said it, the crimson colour of Kai's eyes faded away. Kai coughed, and muttered, "Let's go."
The duo continued their trek down the river, and eventually made it to the huge hunting ground known as the Jungle. It was spectacular in the sun – shining waterfalls cascaded into a gigantic lake, and the green islands where vibrant with colour and life. "Amazing…" gawped Tenma, taking in the surroundings. "Take a long look kid, we can't stay here long." Remarked Kai, seeing Tenma's amazement. "What? Why not?" replied Tenma, shocked.
"We have to cut across it. We're heading for the Tower."
"But- where is the Tower exactly? I know you said he would be there, but I don't know really what it is."
"It's deeper in the Jungle. Far from the Giant Lake. That's why we can't stay for long."
"Oh…" Tenma sighed.
They headed towards a patch of dense jungle on the mainland, following an odd trail. Tenma stepped in something, making a squelch sound. "What the heck was that?" asked Kai, fuddled.
"Urm… I think its Congalala poo."
Later, in the dense foliage of the jungle, Kai and Tenma had had no more trouble from monsters. "It's rather strange. There is usually a lot more monsters around…" Kai looked at Tenma, a sneaky smile on his face. "Maybe it's your Congalala poo." Kai snickered, and stifled a full laugh. "Hey, for all you know, it probably is the poo! Most monsters are afraid of Congalalas! This marks their territory! It's a sign of power!"
At this, Kai broke out into hysterics. "When he recovered enough to a slight giggle, he said, "Your walking around with its territorial dung! Bwahaha!!" Tenma's face went serious, but Kai just fell to the ground clutching his sides. "Keep walking." Tenma spat, and marched ahead. "Awww, come on Tenma! Don't get shitty with me!" Kai said, then realised his pun, and began giggling again, but trudged on because his sides hurt. Catching up to Tenma when he thought his joke had worn off, Kai asked, "What kind of sword is that?"
"This? Oh, it's not mine. I use sword and shield, but I kinda borrowed this from Makoto. It's an upgraded Princess Rapier. Works wonders against Tigrex."
"Cool. We should be nearing the edge of the Tower's region soon." Kai commented, seeing the sun start to go down.
An hour later, Kai and Tenma trudged out into a clear space. Looking up, dark rock walls loomed ahead. Smoke was coming from somewhere, but the rocks hid wherever it originated from. Tenma stopped, unsure about the place, but Kai kept walking. "Come on. It's just around the corner." Tenma cautiously followed Kai, wary of the rock. He could see some kind of moss covering the top edges of the cliffs. Sure enough though, just around the corner of the rock was a small village. People bustled about, moving baskets of food to and fro, taking wood to the fire, and talking. Someone stopped, and noticed Kai and Tenma. "Heyyy!! A hunter! Haven't seen one in these parts for awhile!" the man called, seemingly friendly. "Well, I'm not a hunter per se…" Kai called back. The man walked up to Kai, and shook his hand. "Wow. It's really been five years? It's great to see you Kai." The man smiled.
"Great to see you to, Thomas. Is the Guardian here?"
"Humph. Just like you, you come back here and the first thing you ask is whether the Guardian is here. Well he's not." Replied Thomas.
"What!? That's not fair! We came all this way an-" Tenma cried out, but stopped short as he saw Thomas smiling.
"He's not here at the moment, boy. He'll be back tomorrow morning. Now, what is your name?"
"Tenma. I'm Makoto's younger brother."
"Tenma… you stink. What'd you eat, kid?!"
Kai cracked up, and Tenma glared at him, but explained the story to Thomas, who was soon in the same state as Kai after he finished.
Night had fallen, and the little jungle village had given Kai and Tenma shelter and food. They tried to be as hospitable as they could, as they didn't get many visitors. Kai, Tenma and Thomas sat by the fire and told stories of hunts from years passed. Tenma changed subject, asking, "Who is the Guardian?"
Thomas glanced at Kai, and then turned back to Tenma. "I think, only he can tell you that himself. We only know that he's our saviour, our protector. Tomorrow, your questions will be answered."
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 5
Tenma woke leisurely in the tent, and noticed that Kai had already left. Hearing movement outside, he sat up in the bed the village had shared. Tenma was tired, having gotten to sleep late last night. He wasn't used to sleeping in a different place, and when he finally got to sleep, it was late, and Kai's snoring didn't help. Tenma's armour was placed next to the bed, with his pack and sword. Looking over to the other side of the tent, he noticed Kai had taken his armour. Staggering outside, he was greeted by Thomas. "Morning. Took you long enough to wake up, Kai already left for the tower."
"Huh? He's already gone?" replied Tenma groggily.
"Yup. He woke early, ate breakfast, even waited a while for you. But he gave up and headed off to the tower. If you get ready soon, I'll lead you to the entrance."
"…Ok. I won't take to long."
Tenma hurriedly put on his armour, and ate a quick breakfast. He then headed off with Thomas down a moss-covered path, laden with rocks and trees. A fair way off, Tenma heard the rush of water. "Don't worry, it's not far. The tower is just hidden behind these rocks and cliffs, that's all." Thomas was saying.
"I've heard about the tower from other Samurai. Is it really a small hunting ground?" asked Tenma, curious to know. "Well, yes and no. There are some strange monsters that take refuge around the tower. Elder dragons are common. Some flying wyverns show up now and again, but they are no real trouble to the village. Only Yama Tsukami is dangerous." Replied Thomas, and then stayed quiet for the remainder of the trip.
Turning around a corner, the tower came into view. It was huge – it was situated on a large rock-like structure, which itself towered above the jungle below. Due to this, the top of the tower rose high into the clouds. "Ok. Just follow the path up to those stairs, and Kai should be waiting. I have to head back now. Good luck!" Thomas stated, then turned and jogged back along the path. Tenma turned back to the tower, and noticed Kai at the bottom of the stairs. Jogging over to him, Tenma asked, "What is with Thomas and this place?"
"Oh, nothing. He just dislikes being away from the town. He's not a hunter, so he fears he may be attacked by monsters," Kai chuckled at this, "Come on, let's head up."
Starting up the stairs, Tenma felt an odd presence ahead. He couldn't explain why or how, but the tower was radiating waves of mystery and ancientness. It had power. Eventually reaching the top of the stairs, Kai told Tenma to wait at the top. Tenma nodded, then looked forward. Sitting not to far away, was a hunter, but Tenma couldn't see his face behind his mask. Kai sat down in front of the man, and made a bow. The polite Samurai greeting, Tenma knew. The hunter returned the bow, and was silent for a moment. He then spoke, in a low, old voice, "What are you here for?"
Kai replied slowly, "My name is Kai. I am the Tigrex Warrior, and I seek your assistance in travelling to the Great Forest, as my companion and I do not know the way."
The hunter nodded, and then said, "I know who you are. And I also know why you are heading to the Great Forest."
Tenma watched on, stunned by the hunters knowledge. "Did you not expect me to know? I'm the Guardian. News always reaches my ears one way or another."
Kai shrugged casually, a movement Tenma thought was disrespectful in the presence of the Guardian. "I knew you would know my situation. You met my father years ago. He told me you watch the goings on of Minegarde. Now, will you be our guide or not?"
At this, Tenma thought the Guardian would be furious, but he replied casually. "Sure. I will help you get to the Great Forest, and to its inner sanctum. But, you must promise me one thing."
"Anything in return for your help." Kai replied.
"Hmm. Good. Are you prepared to leave this place?"
"Yes. Aren't you going to tell me what to promise?"
"No. Not yet. But when I ask you, you will promise without question." The Guardian stood up, and declared, "Let's move." He walked off briskly, past Tenma and straight on down the stairs. Kai got up and patted Tenma on the shoulder as he passed, following the Guardian. The trio got to the bottom of the stairs easily, the downward trek much quicker. Tenma was confused to the Guardian's intentions and mood.
Making a short pass through the village, Kai said thankyou to Thomas and the village for being so kind. They then headed for the jungle once more, but it was a way neither Kai nor Tenma had taken before. They headed back through the dense jungle, towards the east, and the coast. "Guardian," asked Kai suddenly, "What route are we taking to the Great Forest exactly? I know it is south, close to the two deserts. We seem to be going to the coast…"
"Heheh… don't worry. Were not heading to the coast. I am actually taking you to the Valley of the Twins, it is a much faster way to get to the Great Forest."
The Valley of the Twins, Tenma had heard this name before, but he could not remember where. "Also," continued the Guardian, "It avoids the Guild. They may have outposts along the Valley here and there, but no serious places of authority." Tenma decided it was his time to cut in. He had not yet spoken to the Guardian yet. "Why are we avoiding the Guild? You never really explained that to me."
The Guardian turned to look at Tenma, as though noticing him for the first time. Tenma could not see anything of the Guardian's expression through his mask. "The Guild, Tenma, does not like interfering with the Grand Trio's problems. They prefer to keep to themselves, and look down on the Grand Trio."
"I see." Tenma replied, realising he would get no more information. He chose to ask a different question. "What armour is that? It seems to be made of wood, but no wood I've seen. It can't be very protective."
In his mask, the Guardian smiled to himself. "This armour is very protective, young Tenma. It is made of Ancient Dragonwood, just like my longsword, and is extremely strong. It is proof of one who has faced the Yama Tsukami." The Guardian's tone lightened now. "Coincidentally, it happens to be called Guardian Spirit Shin by the Guild. My title, though, is not related to this armour."
And so it went like this for hours – Tenma asking a question, the Guardian answering. He seemed to have an answer to everything Tenma could think of. By sundown, the trio had reached the edge of the jungle. The trees had thinned out into shrubbery and plains of grass spread out before them. "We will have to camp soon. The Valley of the Twins can wait till tomorrow." Finding a suitable area, Kai set up a perimeter of traps whilst Tenma and the Guardian prepared their tents. Once all was done, the three sat down at the fire and discussed the coming day. "How will we cross the Valley of the Twins? I have heard some strange carapeceons live there, and the Valley gets very wide at some points." Kai asked, eager to know all the details.
"Well," replied the Guardian, "There are some very strange creatures in the Valley. But, we wont have to fight any if were lucky. We'll be following the edge, on the Forest side. I know where to cross, so don't worry."
"Guardian," enquired Tenma, "Do you know why its called the Valley of the Twins?"
"Of course. Don't they teach young Samurai the legends of old anymore? They mustn't. All right, from my memory, the Valley of the Twins is situated exactly in the middle of Minegarde, cutting the land in half. Supposedly, when the Great Wyvern died, it split into to two: the dark god Akantor, and the white god Ukanlos. The two monsters appeared on either side of the Valley, and the hunters who had slain the Great Wyvern saw them as twins. The wyverns then went their separate ways, Akantor crossing the desert to the volcanoes, and Ukanlos crossing the swamps to the mountain peaks. Its just an old legend."
Tenma was awed by the Guardian's knowledge, but he was also tired. He wanted to sleep badly. Saying a quick goodnight, Tenma stumbled into his tent and fell asleep soon. Back at the fire, Kai asked the Guardian again. "Are you going to tell me what I have to promise?"
The Guardian looked at Kai, and said nothing. "I will choose the time, when it is right. I just hope you can keep it."
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 6
The next morning, the weather changed drastically. The trio had had to pack up camp quickly, because the gale force wind threatened to drag their tents away. The day was a struggle, across flat plains where the wind had no mercy. The trio barely made it to a shelter by nightfall, and the Guardian was displeased that they had not made it to the Valley of the Twins. "Damn Daora wind," He said caused it, "You know most storms are actually caused by that damned Elder Dragon? Gave the Guild a hell of trouble a way back… lucky for them, the Kushala Warrior stepped in."
The trio was sat around the fire once again, under a small ledge that did well to stop the wind's force, but not its sound. "The Kushala Warrior? I thought the Guild took over the Elder Dragon clans." Remarked Kai, surprised to hear of other Monster Warriors. Through the day, the Guardian had not said much, but now he was well into telling stories from his past. "Well, the Guild likes to keep them hidden. You know the Elder Dragon Research Centre? They work there. One of their abilities is that they can feel the presence of their respective dragon. The Kushala Warrior stepped in on this particular crisis because he had no trouble walking through the storm force winds, and simply killed the dragon in its own territory." The Guardian finished.
Soon, the trio would find out they made it to the Valley quicker than they had expected. Sitting around the fire, an earthquake shook the plain, momentarily making them forget the wind. An uneasy noise filled the space around them, and the hairs on the back of Tenma's neck stood up. Kai's hand went to his longsword, but the Guardian motioned for him to be calm. Nothing could be seen in the pitch black outside the fire's circle of light. Suddenly, the Guardian jumped up and grabbed out at something. There was a yelp, and the Guardian swore as he brought his catch into the light. It was a Felyne – nothing to be scared about. Tenma and Kai relaxed, and watched the Guardian put down the Felyne. "Thanks, nya. I was getting swept away by the wind! I'm sorry if I spooked you in any way, nya…" the Felyne said, sitting down. It was melynx-coloured, but it wore Guild issue armour. "What's your name, Felyne Comrade?" asked Tenma, being polite.
"Felyne Comrade Robo, Pokke Second Class, at your service, nya." Replied Robo, giving a short bow. "If I may ask, nya, what are you hunters doing out here? Many hunters have camped far away from the storm, in official hunting grounds nya. There is danger here."
The Guardian decided to reply; "We got sidetracked on our way to the Valley of the Twins. We had to set up camp quickly when the wind hit. What danger do you speak of, Robo?"
Robo hesitated, not sure he should be telling these strangers. "Urm, nya, there has been reports, nya, of scorpion-like carapeceons roaming this area. You hunters have camped VERY close to the Valley, nya. If I don't seem pushy, nya, would you mind if I camp here with you?"
Kai smiled, and agreed. "Of course you can Robo."
Over the night, the wind did not die down. Only until mid-morning, after the group had said good-bye to Robo, did the wind finally stop. Robo had been right; just over the next hill, the Valley of the Twins appeared before them, a dark gash in the land. Far away, the side the desert was situated on could be seen rising, separating the cliffs even more. And, if you looked closely, faint dark shapes crossed the Valley's entrance, which went down steeply into the dark. "Ready?" enquired the Guardian, looking at Kai. Kai nodded, and the trio advanced swiftly towards the Valley. They turned left when they got within a yard's distance of the entrance, and headed towards the side. Luckily, none of the mysterious carapeceons noticed them pass. Travelling now tired out Tenma less than it used to. Kai and the Guardian where skilled in travelling long distances, but it could be expected of Tenma, he was only fifteen. And Kai was nearly twenty-four, and the Guardian… "Um, Guardian, if you don't mind me asking, how old are you?"
The Guardian turned to Tenma. He was impressed by Tenma's straight forwardness, and replied, "I'm seventy."
Kai made an odd sound, and spun round to look at Tenma and the Guardian. "What? That can't be right!" remarked Kai. "No, Kai, it's true. Hunters that can survive over forty are uncommon, but those that do live very healthy, strong lives. I admit, I do not have all the strength I used to, but I can still help where I can."
Tenma looked at the Guardian in a new light. He was incredibly old for a hunter, that was true, but there had to be something else to his continued strength.
Early in the afternoon, the trio passed by the part of the Valley that was shadowed by the rising desert cliff side. They were being safe as they could, staying far away from the edge of the cliff. The heat of the deserts rolled into the plains, and they drank more water than they had planned to, setting them back a little. Trudging across the land, they where within camping distance in a couple of hours. Kai's stomach growled, and he announced they were camping here. Neither of them complained they were so tired. Camping behind a small hill, where they could still see the Valley, the trio rested. "We should only have a days journey left until we reach the Great Forest," commented the Guardian, "Then we have to actually find the Narga Clan's city."
"The Hidden City…" murmured Tenma. He looked over at Kai, who was sat in thought. The sun set, and the moon cast an eerie light on the sands. The Guardian and Tenma went to their tents, and where soon asleep. Kai still sat in thought. His mind was in turmoil over what he was going to do in the Great Forest. He knew he had to solve the problem between the Grand Trio, but how he was going to do it was a mystery. Hours later, Kai was just thinking about retiring to bed, when a sound reached his ears. It was subtle to begin with, but it grew louder and louder. He picked up his katana and walked closer towards the Valley. He could make out the sound now; flapping, of giant wings…
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 7
A dark form emerged out of the Valley, the tips of what appeared to be wings glinting in the moonlight. Kai, not wanting to risk a fight, dropped to the ground, looking forward. The shadowy form now swooped out of the Valley, coming very close to hitting Kai, but then gaining height and flying high over him. Spinning over quickly, Kai saw the beast for its true appearance. A huge monster, that bore a striking resemblance to a phoenix. It was dark in the moonlight, only specks of colour here and there. Its wingspan was very long, which Kai deduced meant it flew over long distances. But, it was gone off into the distance as quickly as it had appeared. Heading carefully back to the camp, he resolved to ask the Guardian about it in the morning. Falling into his tent, he wriggled into his sleeping bag and fell into a fitful sleep.
In the morning, Kai was the first up. He had not slept well at all, and had decided to make breakfast early so it was ready for the other two waking up. Tenma got out of bed wearily, and was after the Guardian. Kai was waiting for Tenma to ask the Guardian what he had seen last night. When they where all settled down eating, Kai asked, "Guardian, do you know of any phoenix-like wyverns?"
The Guardian nearly choked on his food, and managed to splutter out, "You've seen one!? Where!? We could be in danger!"
"Whoa, whoa, sorry. I saw it last night. What is it?"
Calmer now, the Guardian took a deep breath, and began. "The Guild has a list of monsters known as the unmentionables. It keeps any quests to hunt them for the top hunters. Not just the Top Five, there are the Frontier Hunters, specially picked to hunt these beasts. Many of the unmentionables are just being discovered, so they are kept under wraps."
Kai looked at the Guardian, a slightly bemused expression on his face. "Ok… but what about the wyvern I saw?"
"I was getting to that. Well, translations from ancient ruins in the desert have given us a name: Berukyurosu. The Thunder Wyvern. It supposedly lives deep within the desert, in the gorge, but it could possibly fly out here… we should pack up and get moving. It may come back."
Soon, the trio was walking quickly back on their way. The desert was far behind now, and on the horizon, green could be seen. "Within a couple of hours, that green should be much closer." Remarked the Guardian. It was a hot day, and the trio had used less water than the previous day, but that didn't stop the heat. Thankfully, clouds moved in a while later. "Would you look at that… a bit of luck after all!"
As soon as Tenma had said that, the ground suddenly grew darker. "Hey, did another cloud move over?" Tenma turned and looked up. He wasn't met with a good sight. The Berukyurosu was bearing down upon the group. "RUN!!" Tenma yelled, spinning on the spot and running between Kai and the Guardian. Not pausing to ask, the other two broke into a sprint. The Berukyurosu made its shrill roar, but they kept running. Suddenly, it opened its mouth and let out a beam of electricity that exploded very close to Kai. This distracted Kai for a moment, allowing the wyvern to swoop in and throw him forward. Kai landed hard, the Berukyurosu's attack had winded him. He struggled up, gasping for breath. The wyvern was moving back into the air, hovering with ease. But there was the Guardian, sword in hand, slicing at the Berukyurosu. It moved back gracefully, and made an odd movement. Without warning, the Berukyurosu's tail swept the Guardian's legs out from under his feet. He fell, but quickly jumped up to avoid a second attack. Spying an opening, he struck hard with his sword.
The Berukyurosu went into a huge spasm, writhing on the ground. The Guardian went over to Kai and helped him catch his breath. Tenma was stunned, and inquired dreamily, "What happened?"
"Queen Vespoid paralysis fluid, and parashroom sap. It's paralysed in other words." Replied the Guardian, showing off his sword. Kai was now back to functional, and said, "We should get out of here."
The trio ran, and soon, the wyvern was far behind. Tenma glanced back, but the Berukyurosu had taken the hint and flown off. The green of the forests was no longer blurry, and a village could be made out along its edges. "We should camp along its eastern edge. Avoid the village." This comment from the Guardian earned him a glare from the Samurai. "Sorry, but we have to remain inconspicuous…"
Kai huffed, and kept walking. The sun was going down, and the Valley of the Twins was ending. By nightfall, the sounds of the forest could be heard. Setting up camp tiredly, the trio made a barely plausible dinner and slumped down around the fire. Kai took the opportunity to ask, "What other unmentionable monsters are there?"
The Guardian looked up sleepily, and took a moment to realise what Kai had asked. "Oh, sorry. I'm not actually sure. The scorpion-carapeceons that felyne Robo told us about are on the list… err, there are a couple of pelagi, a couple of Tigrex-like wyverns, a few true flying wyverns, and a couple species of Hypnocatrice. That's all I can recall now."
Tenma blinked, and fought the urge to fall asleep there. Something the Guardian had said was nagging at the back of his head… eh; he couldn't remember what it was. "Good night guys," Tenma yawned, and went to his tent. Soon, it would be all over, this journey.
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 8
The trio awoke to the sounds of the forest nearby. Growls and birdcalls resonated from the trees, their owners hidden in the thick undergrowth. Kai was not up as early as he had been this morning, and Tenma managed to be the first to start breakfast. The Guardian soon followed, his mask on his face as always. "Do you ever take that helmet off?" asked Tenma.
"Of course. When no-ones looking." He replied, sitting down to start eating. Tenma still couldn't recall what it was the Guardian had said, but another thing came to mind. "Who or what is the Top 5?"
The Guardian looked up from cooking, and said, "The Top 5 best hunters in all of Minegarde. They're quite famous."
"Oh, ok, it's just… you mentioned them last night, and I wanted to know who they were." Tenma replied, but it did not satisfy the thought at the back of his mind. After a little while, Kai strolled out of his tent, his armour polished and his Wailing Cleaver on his back. "There he is!" exclaimed the Guardian, motioning for Kai to sit down. "Morning," Kai said, a hint of excitement in his voice.
"Alright," began the Guardian, "you obviously want to know how to get to the Narga Clan's city, right? Well, it's going to be hard. When Narga Clan warriors take prisoners or guests to the city, they are blindfolded and carried. The warriors take a hidden path, through the trees, and under the trees as well."
"Under the trees?" observed Tenma.
"Yes. The trees deep in the Great Forest are HUGE. They have large tunnel systems in between there roots, and lots of monsters. Most monsters can be dealt with, and most don't get into the tunnels. But the most adept, is, of course, the Nargacuga. Running into one of them will be a problem."
Kai spoke at this point. "Don't worry, were equipped to deal with them." He motioned to his katana.
"Yes, but they will slow us down and draw attention to us. The Narga Clan watches all that goes on in the Great Forest. We can't be caught. I know most of the way to the city, but not all. We will have to search for it past this point." The Guardian pointed to a spot on the map, close to the centre.
"Alright then. Let's go! Come on, were wasting time standing around!" Kai jumped up, and promptly dashed towards the trees. The Guardian looked at Tenma, shrugged, then got up and followed Kai. The trio had finally entered the Great Forest. After the first quick dash, the trio slowed their pace to a brisk walk. It was halted now and again by large tree trunks and vines, which criss-crossed the floor of the forest. "I think I just heard a Genprey," muttered Tenma, "But that can't be right. Were in the forest…"
"No, your right. We will probably see a few Velociprey and Ioprey as well… the Great Forest has a very wide habitat." Replied the Guardian, offering his knowledge once again.
Kai had the feeling he had had in the swamp, that feeling of being watched. It didn't help that the Guardian had pointed out that the Narga Clan watched the forest, and Kai wanted to be careful of what they said. A Hypnoc cry echoed through the dense vines, and Kai tensed. Nothing moved. It must be far off, he thought. The Great Forest had a way of distorting sound to make it louder. The trio forged on through the thick shrubs, vines and fallen trees, eventually making it to a clearing. "Huh? Where'd the forest go? I though this was the Great Forest…" noted Tenma, tired from walking up and down for hours.
"That forest on the other side of the clearing is the deeper part of the forest. We just got through the easy part. The next bit should be hard, but the very centre of the forest is easy… I think." Answered the Guardian, breathing heavily. Just then, a Nargacuga growl echoed out of the trees on the other side of the clearing. The trio froze. In the open, the Nargacuga could be taken on. But when it had the advantage of surprise, there was no way to combat it. It made sure to take the edge from the beginning of the fight. Kai scanned the tree line, searching for any sign of the Nargacuga. Nothing emerged, but the trio crossed warily. They would have to be more careful of Nargacuga's, or monsters in general. They headed into the deep forest, and the sunlight dimmed as the giant trees blocked it out. The sun was also going down, but they had been determined to stop as late as possible. The forest grew increasingly denser, until the light became faint and luminous.
"For all we know, it could be night time already…" murmured Kai, concerned.
"We are getting very close to the border of the Narga Clan's city. Be on guard…" said the Guardian, his hand going to his longsword. Tenma scanned the trees, and something flashed in the corner of his eye. He span quickly to see what it was, but it had gone. He narrowed his eyes, and turned slowly back to walking.
Kai was right. Night had fallen, and the monsters were getting louder. Congalala noises along with Hypnoc calls could be discerned from the incredible ruckus that was taking place somewhere in the forest. It was making Tenma unnerved, and the trio needed to have full concentration. "Kai, I think we have to stop soon. I know I can't take you any further tonight, I need to be at full strength." The Guardian said, his voice tiring.
Kai turned to reply, just as a throwing knife zoomed down in front of him. He back jumped frantically, and fell over himself. The Guardian had his arm out to shield Tenma, but nothing happened. Then, a cruel, sadistic laugh broke the silence. A person dropped down from a hidden vantage point, a woman, it seemed. She was wearing full Nargacuga armour, and Kai could barely make out the face in the dark. He leapt to his feet, ready for a second attack, but the assailant just laughed more. The trio glanced at each other quickly, not sure what to do. The woman stopped laughing finally, and looked at Kai.
"I missed. Darn." She bent down and picked up the throwing knife, and Kai tensed.
"Who are you, and what do you want?" asked Kai, hesitant.
"Manners… not usual for someone who is about to die." She replied, moving slowly into an attacking stance.
"Well, that answers what you want, so who are you?" Kai was keeping calm, but his hand was on his katana's hilt.
"Hahaha! Keeping a straight face in a situation like this? You should be afraid, Tigrex Warrior…"
That made Kai mad. He was losing patience with this woman.
"Who are you!" he roared, bringing out his katana at the same time.
The woman faltered at this, and Kai saw fear flash in her eyes for a second.
"If you so wish to know your killers name… my name is Lien, the Nargacuga Warrior."
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 9
Lien moved into an attacking stance, and Kai was ready to strike with his katana. But she had no weapon… or none he could see. In a quick movement, Lien touched something on either arm and made a short flick with her hands. Without warning, vicious blades sprang out from oddly designed gauntlets. Kai was surprised, and caught off guard for a moment. Lien chose this moment and struck. The blades whirled and Kai instinctively blocked the strike. Lien span on the spot and the blades on her left arm came around and struck down again, forcing Kai back. The Guardian was restraining Tenma, who wanted to help Kai, but the way Lien was fighting stopped them from getting close. She was attacking in a fluent spinning motion, where one blade would strike and then on the turn, the next would come down. It was like the Nargacuga's cutting wings…
Kai wasn't letting up on the defense. He had sparred against dual swords before, but this was completely different. Lien was dangerously close, and, unexpectedly, she kicked out throwing Kai backwards. He tumbled down a fallen tree, and landed on soft grass. He had dropped his katana, but it was just near him. He crouched up, and before he could crawl over, Lien landed in between him and the sword. She laughed, and lashed out at Kai's head. It was a savage kick, but luckily Kai's helmet took most of the blow. Staggering up, he received another blow to the head, this time giving him more pain. He struck out now, and Lien fell back, giving him enough time to get his sword. He pivoted on the spot, and swung wildly towards Lien. The blade cut through thin air. Kai staggered, the swing taking him round. He glanced around feverishly, but he could barely make out much in the night. Relaxing a little, he allowed his mind to calm for a minute. He took a couple of deep breaths, but suddenly the back of his armour was ripped open by the force of Lien dropping and slicing her dual blades down. Kai lurched forward clumsily, and rolled over, bits of his armour coming off. He could see Lien smiling, and she began to speak, "You're not a very good warrior, Kai. I expected more of a fight…"
Kai chose this break to stall her. "I fight monsters. A wise man once said, weapons are for harming monsters, not humans. So pardon my skills in combat, I am not accustomed to murder."
Lien was unaffected by this. "I see. Well, I am so very good at murder… but it is such an uncivilized word."
Kai was secretly inching his hand to his belt, where he kept a spare throwing knife. "An uncivilized word for an uncivilized act… why is the Narga Clan assassinating Monster Warriors?"
Lien would still not budge. She was certainly determined on winning the fight. Swiftly, Kai pulled out the throwing knife and threw it with all his might at Lien. She moved one step out of the way, extremely quickly, and said, "Hmm. Nice try, but that didn't avoid my gaze. You can't use the night against me Kai. I am the Nargacuga Warrior, after all… hahaha!" Lien broke into her cruel laugh once again. It was really pissing Kai off. He scanned his memory for any sign of what the Nargacuga Warrior could use to an advantage in the dark… He had it!
"The ability to see in the dark, eh? Now that's not very fair at all…" Kai struck out with his katana, and Lien narrowly dodged the tip. Kai was on the offensive now. He followed up with a series of slashes and jabs, forcing her back and keeping her focused on dodging. She finally struck back, and sparks flew from the crashing blades. The Ebony Wings against the Wailing Cleaver. The fight was now even; the same amount of blows being dealt in each flurry of strikes. Without warning, Kai roared out in pain, and Lien made a single laugh. Kai gripped his right arm, still holding onto the katana. Blood poured down his arm, making his grip slip. Lien now had the upper hand, and exploited it well. She attacked in a frenzy of strikes, each one weakening Kai's grip on the longsword. Kai dropped to his knee, hand still on the sword, and breathed. Lien had given him a moment of peace in her evident triumph.
"Heheh… finally, my family has succeeded in defeating the Tigrex Warrior once and for all… I'll give a hand to you though, you fought better than your father."
Kai muttered something barely audible. Lien asked, irritated at being questioned, "I'm sorry?"
Kai looked up, and into Lien's eyes. "I said," he growled, "At least my father wasn't a coward."
Lien staggered, and she gulped in fear. She had realized her mistake far to late.
The blood was still coming out of Kai's wound, but had slowed now. As he stood up, he kept his eyes locked with Lien's. If this were to be his death, then he would show her the true meaning of rage. Shakily, Lien raised her arms to defend with her dual blades. It was the only thing she could do against the coming onslaught. Kai gave the charge all the anger he had, slashing and slicing with more and more power in each strike. He was forcing Lien back further and further, each blow pushing her into a defensive ball. Lien looked up, tears streaking down her face, but Kai had no pity left. He readied for the final strike, and- SMACK!! Kai was tackled with the force of a Tigrex to the side, his Wailing Cleaver flying from his hand. He tried to struggle against the force that was pinning him down, and could barely hear the words coming at him through a wall of rage. After a minute, he saw who was restraining him. The Guardian was speaking to him, something about a promise… "KAI!! KAI!!! For Pete's sake… Snap out of it!" The Guardian slapped Kai hard in the face.
"WHAT!! Why did you stop me!!!!?" Kai yelled back, his face turning red from the slap.
"Kai, you have to promise me, remember? Now promise!"
The Guardian arched his head. He was losing his patience with Kai in his rage state. "You must promise me that you won't let the rage consume you! Your father knew that! Without control, you are no better than the Tigrex! Promise me! Promise your father!" The Guardian had calmed, but emotion was rising in his voice. Kai stared at the Guardian for a while, a realization arising in his head.
"I've got her tied down Guardian, but she's so terrified she won't do any harm. I broke her dual blades just in case." This was Tenma, walking over from Lien, who lay slumped against a tree in ropes. He squatted down next to Kai and the Guardian, and looked from each of their faces. He then spoke to Kai, in a calm but unimpressed tone. "Kai, you have to promise the Guardian. If you had seen yourself when you attacked Lien, well… it's just inhuman. When you have calmed, we will go to the nearest village. We have the assassin, and we're not getting any more information."
Kai calmed down later, but the Guardian couldn't be sure until the last specks of red had left Kai's eyes. They left the deep forest in silence, and left Lien where she was. Her encounter with Kai's rage had shut her up, and Tenma predicted it would take a long time for her to recover; he had been shocked just watching. Kai did not speak to the others after he had made his promise, and they made the walk to the nearest village in silence. The Tigrex's rage combined with Kai's rage had to be contained, and no one but Kai could do that.
The Tigrex's Rage – Chapter 10
The trio reached a small town by the name of Forrest in the early hours of the morning. They were tired, bruised and hungry. Paying more than the needed price, they acquired a room in the local Guildhall with no questions asked. They each fell into bed, and sleep took them as soon as they hit the pillow. Tenma was the first to wake, getting up at a leisurely hour, still not used to sleeping in different places. He guessed it was past noon, as the sun was high and the town was active with travellers. He observed the town closely, a skill he had refined himself. It was indeed small; it may have had a Guildhall, but for town hunters it may have had one or two. There was no blacksmith, but there was a small market, which must have sold hunting items and Great Forest commodities. It was… nice, that was the word for it, Tenma thought. He turned around suddenly to the sound of Kai waking up, and asked if he could go downstairs. Kai said it was fine, but not to go to far.
Even though Tenma was classified as a hunter by age, his height had separated him from other senior hunters. They had mocked him, and some even refused to believe that he was fifteen. Outside of the Samurai, he had never met hunters his age before. That was why he found it hard to talk with other kids whenever he was around them. It didn't help that there was a few kids in the Guildhall's common room, but he didn't want to go and be near Kai either. Glancing over to the table that the young hunters sat at, Tenma decided on being brave for once. Walking over, he stood as tall as he could.
"Hello!" The hunters turned to him, friendly expressions on their faces.
"Hello there! What's your name?" asked one of the girls.
"I'm Tenma. What are your names?" Tenma found words coming to him easily.
"I'm Katherine, he's Gordon, she's Freya, and he's Aidan. What are you here for? Where just stopping off before going into the Great Forest."
"I'm just stopping off to. I should be heading back to the Snowy Mountains soon…"
"Nice man," this was Gordon, "Whatcha going to do there?"
"I live there, partially. I'm a Tigrex Samurai you see, so we move in between the mountains and the desert."
The group exchanged excited glances, and Freya asked, "Have you hunted many Tigrex?"
"Yes, I've killed my fair share. That's how I made this armour." The group now looked at Tenma's armour, realising it for the first time. Tenma smiled. He hadn't known how easy it would be to talk so commonly.
About a half hour later, Kai came down the stairs to the common room. He saw Tenma talking happily with other hunters, and decided not to interrupt. He sat down near the quest counter, and waited for the Guardian to come down. The Guardian had still not removed his mask, even to sleep last night. Don't blame him for last night, thought Kai, we where so tired. The Guardian came down sooner than Kai had expected, and just in time to see Tenma waving off the young hunters. Tenma joined Kai and the Guardian, and sighed happily. "Someone got up on the right side of bed this morning," mocked Kai.
Tenma glared at him, but Kai just smiled. The Guardian was looking at Tenma, but as always, no emotions could be found in the mask. They sat down at a table, and ordered a quick snack from a passing merchant. It was time to discuss what had transpired last night.
"We came all this way… for a different person?" Kai stated, the night coming back to him in a wave. "Not necessarily Kai. We now know that the Nargacuga Warrior is behind the assassinations, but not which Warrior." "Wait, what?" this was Tenma. He had missed much of what Lien had said last night.
"Lien was not the assassin, but someone in her family was, and most likely the Narga Warrior. But we don't have a motive… Hopefully, the elders have investigated more, and got into contact with the Guild."
"You put to much faith in the elders – thankyou," Kai paused to take the snacks from the merchant, "The Grand Elder is not very forceful when it comes to Guild matters."
"Well, we can hope," murmured Tenma.
"You should keep your voices down."
The trio jumped at the calm voice, surprised by the comment. It was a woman, who looked a little younger than Kai. She wore full black clothes, and there was no sign to say she was a hunter.
"Who are you, and why were you eavesdropping?" demanded Kai, frustration rising in his voice.
The woman smiled, and replied calmly, "My name is not important. But I have information that could help you… You have come from the Great Forest, yes?"
"Yes, we were trying to find a reason behind the Narga Clans assassination of Monster Warriors," replied the Guardian, no hesitation at all.
"Well, you were right to go to the Nargacuga Clan. They are behind the assassinations. But not for any of the reasons you can comprehend." The woman spoke with a knowledgeable tone, but her age didn't show any wisdom.
"I'm not sure what I think they wish to achieve from it," said Kai thoughtfully.
"It is a long story how I got this information, but I will be brief. There is corruption in the Guild, a cult… the Order of the Black Dragon. They made a deal with the Nargacuga Clan… to stop the Monster Warriors interfering with their plans."
The Guardian made an odd choking sound, and Tenma patted him on the back. Once he recovered, he whispered "That's insane… what are they doing?"
The woman lowered her voice as well, and said, "I don't know. But you have to make a decision soon… Guild troops are here for your friend." At this, she motioned to Kai. He kept his gaze steady, and sighed.
"Shall I ask how they got here, and why they want me?"
"You shouldn't have let the Nargacuga Warrior go. She's a bitch, and now you're in trouble. I must leave, you never saw me." And with that, the woman gracefully strolled off. The trio looked at each other, worried looks on their faces.
"What do we do?" enquired Tenma, a shaky tone in his voice.
"I have no doubt Kai will be caught if he tries to run." Replied the Guardian, sighing. Kai was still thinking, and he could think of nothing. He had finally been defeated.
"I'll go. You two have to leave, and get back to the Samurai as fast as you can. I have no choice but to get taken to god-knows-where."
"But… We need you! If we're gonna find out about this Order, we need anyone we can get!" Tenma cried, disagreeing absolutely with Kai's decision.
"Tenma, tell your brother to help. And tell Nami… to, help as well. Guardian?"
The Guardian looked at Kai. "Yes?"
"Take Tenma home safe, please?" Kai said, his voice breaking slightly.
"I will," the Guardian stood up, "Well done Kai. Remember your promise. Learn to control it. We will find you, and we will take down this Order. Your father will not have died in vain." With that, Kai bowed to the Guardian and headed towards the Guildhall door. He gave one wave, and headed out.
"HALT!! You are under arrest, by jurisdiction of the Hunter's Guild, for assaulting the Nargacuga Warrior Lien!" barked a scrawny looking soldier, as the other troops pointed lances at Kai. One headed over and put Kai in shackles, and then kicked him in the back of the knees. Kai fell hard, and gritted his teeth. It was going to be hard controlling his rage, but he would do it… hopefully. The troop headed off towards a prison carriage, shoving Kai into the cell. As they left, two figures snuck out the back of the Guildhall, unseen by anyone. Tenma and the Guardian began the harsh journey back to the Snowy Mountains. "Guardian, I was wondering. I'm gonna have a hard time back at the Samurai temple, and I would appreciate it if you could train me…" asked Tenma hesitantly, when the village was far behind them.
The Guardian looked at Tenma, and made a short nod. "You wish to learn… the ways of the Guardians?"
"Well… yeah. Combined with my Samurai knowledge, it would get me closer to helping Kai."
"Hmm. I suppose… you are older than when I began my training, but I guess you'll learn a little faster. Alright." The Guardian replied, moving his hands up to his helmet.
"Thankyou! Wait, why are you taking your mask off?" replied Tenma, confused and happy at the same time. The Guardian had finished removing his helmet, and in the first time in years, someone had seen his face. It was a kind, old face, with brown eyes containing all the wisdom of his age. He smiled, and his small moustache moved slightly. He then quickly put it back on, and his tone became serious. "Let's move Tenma, we've got a lot of work to do."
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