The story so far:
Bies crouched on the ground, and touched the trampled grass. A trail cut through the grasslands, easy even for the worst of trackers to find. Too easy, it seemed to Bies, for the clever group of the Hunter's Hunted.
He lifted himself onto his mount and followed the trail. As he trotted forward, keeping an eye on the trail, he thought to himself.
They knew he was coming. This meant there was a spy, either in Leopold's castle or Emilia's lair. Interesting. The Hunter's Hunted was truly a human warrior band unheard of before now. They were clever, and they had connections. They could be more dangerous then anyone believed.
The trail lead through a small brush of forest at the base of a mountain. He slipped off his horse and walked, slowly, quietly, feeling instinctively that he was close. The dark night and looming trees hid him as he suddenly stopped. A dark opening in the side of the mountain lay ahead through the trees. It was likely the Hunter's Hunted had taken refuge in the caves for the night, but with no guards?
Bies had no reason for impatience, and waited, watching. A muffled cough brought his eyes to a silhouette in one of the trees over the entrance of the cave. Smart move. Bies searched the other trees, and found another silhouette nearby. Silent watchers of the night. Not silent enough.
They knew he'd be following. They'd left the path for him. Would they think he'd see the scouts? Doubtful. Bies moved as slowly and as carefully as he was able, into position. He was a scant ten feet from the entrance, but there would be nothing else to hide him should he try to enter the cave.
He looked into his steeds eyes, communicating his intention to it. He turned it around and patted it lightly on the ****. It snapped forward, sprinting through the woods, crashing through bushes and branches loudly.
The two scouts jerked in surprise, trying to see whatever it was they heard. As their attention turned from the cave entrance, Bies quickly slipped into the dark hole. It was completely dark within, but that did not hinder the homunculus.
He took his weapon from his back and walked slowly through the tunnel.
It was a long tunnel, surprisingly long, walls dripping with condensation but finally, after a half-hour or so, there was a flicker of light in the distance. Bies closed in on it, and saw a large cavern where there were a few humans sitting around a campfire. The smoke drifted up through a hole in the top that revealed the dark night. There were not even stars, covered by the clouds that seemed a constant of this land.
The darkness of the tunnel hid him as he moved closer, and spied his quarry. Ludmilla. A black haired amazon of a woman, tall, muscular, and as hard as any human Bies had ever seen. She leaned her back against the rough wall, her eyes on the tunnel, but her weak human vision could not spot him. She did not have a weapon, which was strange. In fact, there did not seem to be a weapon in the cavern at all. Bies was perturbed. This was highly unusual.
"The scouts have not returned?" Ludmilla spoke suddenly. "It is taking too long." Bies spied another tunnel leading off from the cavern. So, there was another entrance, one the scouts would've used to get ahead of him and report his coming. Interesting. The Hunter's Hunted must've scouted the caves out extensively, in preparation for him. So much preparation for him, yet no weapons. It made no sense. "He shouldn't be taking this long." Ludmilla spoke again.
Bies shrugged. He was not afraid. He stepped into the cavern suddenly, his monstrous shape casting flitting shadows across the walls. Ludmilla gasped, and the others leaped to their feet, but looked unsure what to do, with nothing to defend themselves. "Is it me you speak of, Ludmilla?" Bies asked mockingly. "I apologize for being late, though in all fairness, I didn't know we had set a meeting."
Ludmilla took a deep breath and looked back into Bies' eyes, getting control of herself incredibly fast considering the circumstances. Her guards were nervously licking their lips, looking at him with fear.
"Well Bies." Ludmilla spoke up, her voice unquavering. She truly was unique to face him without so much as a shudder. "We do have much to talk about."
"Do we, human?" Bies walked up to one of Ludmilla's guards. He breathed in the man's fear. Then he backhanded the weakling, sending the human to the ground flat. The others tensed visibly, as Bies turned to Ludmilla. "It's up to you whether your fellows live or die, but you are coming with me."
Ludmilla nodded. "Yes, I am."
Bies' eyes widened. He was taken aback. He didn't understand, but he didn't want to ask anything either.
"Let me explain." Ludmilla motioned to a woman at her side, who quickly sped off into the tunnel. Bies let her go. In a moment he could have Ludmilla's neck in his hand. It didn't matter how many reinforcements came.
Ludmilla pushed herself off the wall and came closer, her eyes sparkling with a crafty intelligence. "You have no allegiances Bies. No ties to the monsters or humans, nothing to keep you to one side or another. Nothing except payment. You are a mercenary." The woman she'd sent off returned with another, carrying a large brown chest between them.
This was why they'd left their trail so easy to follow. This was why they'd let him walk unheeded into their cave, and this was why they did not have weapons on them.
"Don't you see, Bies? Humans have been kept down by the monstrous races for centuries. Used as slaves, beaten, murdered, even eaten at a whim! We're sick of it, Bies, and we're doing something about it. The werewolves were just the beginning. Leopold and Emilia are next. The land will be ours, and it is the monsters who will be hunted down like dogs."
"I don't care." Bies replied. It was interesting, to be sure. He had newfound respect for Ludmilla and her fellows, but in the end, it didn't really affect him.
"You're going to help us."
Bies glared and put the edge of a blade to Ludmilla's throat. The others held their breath. "I don't like being told what to do."
Ludmilla motioned to the ones who had brought in the chest. They opened it, revealing piles of gold coins. "We'll pay you double what Leopold is paying you if you help us take him down." Bies lowered the blade.
"And just how do you expect to do that?" Bies asked, genuinely curious. This woman had a clever mind.
Ludmilla's eyes gleamed as she revealed her plan. She was excited about this. "You're going to take me as before. Bring me to him, only my Hunter's will be following us closely. There's an underground passage from a cave nearby, likely an escape route for Leopold. The Hunter's will go in from there, arriving in the basement. You will take me to Leopold's room, give me to him. When he goes to bite, I'll stab a stake into his heart. With their lord dead and the Hunter's everywhere, it'll be chaos. We'll wipe the vampires out."
Bies looked into Ludmilla's eyes. There wasn't a trace of fear. "Humans are crazy." He replied, glancing at the chest of gold. "And then? After Leopold and his vampires are dead?"
Ludmilla's eyes glared at him with sudden hatred. "And then it's Emilia's turn."
"So Ludmilla," Bies spoke as they trotted on their steeds over the land. "If you succeed with your plan. Destroy Leopold and Emilia and take back the land. What happens to me? The monsters, the weren and vampires, they tolerate me. Will humans do the same once they feel so powerful, and with their hatred of creatures like me?"
They were alone, with the Hunter's Hunted a few miles behind them. He carried his bladed staff and she, a short sword and a crossbow. She turned to look at the creature beside her. "You're not a monster, you're a mercenary, Bies. If you aid us, we will not turn on you. You will be able to do as you will, as long as it is not in conflict with us. Is that adequate?"
"Perhaps." Bies replied. "It is unlikely you will succeed. Vampires and werespiders have powers greater then those of your own. Stronger, faster, among other abilities."
"That is why we think." Ludmilla answered with an even look. "We use our brains, and we plan. The monsters are so overconfident in their 'abilities', they underestimate us. This will be their downfall."
Ludmilla gestured upwards. "Look, what color is the sky?"
"Gray." Bies replied without even looking up. It was always gray. A stupid question.
"Exactly. I cannot remember the last sunny day. The land is oppressive, dark, dreary. It is sick of the tyants hold on it. We will break that hold. We will bring light to the land."
Bies shrugged. A rather optimistic view, to be sure. Crazy humans, believing they could change the weather. It didn't matter to him, long as he got paid, which meant keeping Ludmilla alive for the time being.
A small blackish cloud appeared on the horizon. It closed quickly upon the wind.
"Scouts!" Bies bellowed, doing the only thing he could think of. He swung his fist to his right, hitting Ludmilla in the head and knocking her clean off her horse. He stepped out of his saddle and sent the other horse sprinting the other way.
The cloud came close enough to discern it was made up of a group of small flying creatures. Bats. Ludmilla lay unmoving upon the ground.
The bats flurried around Bies, ten of them, shrieking loudly. They dashed around and suddenly, there were ten black-clothed vampires surrounding the homunculous and his quarry. The one in front of Bies stepped forward, red eyes glowing, and grinned, revealing long fangs.
"Hello Bies." The vampire said, in a strange accent because of the fangs.
"Hello Vernon." Bies replied calmly.
"Everything okay? Leopold is worried about his prize."
"Everything is fine. Doesn't your master like to be called 'Lord Leopold'?"
Vernon sneered angrily. He turned and looked at Ludmilla on the ground. Bies tensed, and made ready to draw his blade. "What happened to her?" Vernon asked stepping closer.
"She got mouthy. Don't you have somewhere to be? Wouldn't Leopold be angry you were holding me up from getting him his prize?"
Vernon glanced at him venomously, then back at the girl. "Tell me Bies...Why is the lovely Ludmilla armed?"
Bies didn't wait a second, moving forward and drawing his double-bladed staff. With a swift movement, his blade swept Vernon's head from his shoulders. The head landed in the grass as the body crumpled to the ground with a thud. The other vampires shrieked. Nine against one. Not very good odds, not even for Bies.
The vampires began changing quickly. Mouths growing larger, nails becoming sharp as claws. They grew beefier, stronger. Bies had taken out their leader, so they were hesitant, not one wanting to be the first to attack. They wouldn't be hesitant for long, but it would cost them, as Bies didn't hesitate to move. He hurled a net, and then another. Each slammed into a vampire, special spiderwebbing springing up all over and covering each vampire completely, dropping each to the ground.
Seven against one wasn't bad. Ludmilla sprang up from the ground, unsheathing a sword sword she had at her waist. "Did you really have to hit me that hard?" She growled.
Bies shrugged. Seven against two. Good odds.
The vampires shrieked once more, and leaped forward, four after the homunculous, three after the human.
Bies kept his staff spinning, deadly blades whirling in front of him, keeping the vampires who went after him at bay for a moment. One threw caution to the wind and hurtled forward, trying to get past the dancing edges. Bies turned, twisting staff expertly and cutting the vamp in half. The two halves of the vampire fell to the ground, another one down but unfortunately, Bies had exposed his back. A vampire quickly leaped upon it, sinking it's teeth and claws deep.
Bies growled, reached behind, and grabbed the vampire by the back of the neck and lifted it over his head, slamming it down on the ground in front of him. He smashed his fist into the sucker's skull, crushing it. Another one flew forward, a large dagger in its hand ready to plunge into Bies's flesh(if you could call it that). Before Bies could move, a huge black creature beside him reared up kicking the vamp in the head and knocking it to the ground. Bies patted his trusty steed in thanks, before throwing himself into the fray again.
Ludmilla was in a bit of trouble, but faced the snarling creatures calmly. Her sword moved in a blur, keeping the leaches off her for the moment. One reached for her. She danced away spinning her sword, and the creature screamed as its hand fell from its arm. She quickly pulled and hurled a dagger, sinking it into the wounded vampires eye. It crumpled, but the other two rushed forward together, one on front, one behind. The one behind grabbed her throat and squeezed as the other held her hands.
She gasped for breath but felt it quickly escaping. She grunted, swinging her foot up into a crotch. The bastards could still feel pain, no matter what abominations they were. Her hands were free and she didn't hesitate to plunge the sword over her shoulder. It ripped through the monster's throat and came out the other side. The creature fell, yanking the sword out of her hands suddenly.
The one with the groin pain in front of her glanced at his only remaining comrade, who was at the moment, having his limbs ripped from his body by the large homunculous. There was a terrible scream, the sick sound of something snapped, and the arms were torn off the body, which crumpled to the ground. Bies dropped the arms and turned to the last standing vampire, who turned and started running.
"Get him." Bies said simply. Urgency was not really one of his qualities.
Ludmilla was already snatching up her crossbow and loading it. "I got it." She replied.
"He's going to change."
"I got it." She finished loading and took aim. If the vampire made it back to the castle, everything was lost.
Where the vampire had been, there was now a bat at head level, quickly flapping away. The light wasn't great, and the bat was gaining distance.
"Ludmilla..." Bies grumbled. There was the twang of the crossbow, and the bat dropped.
Ludmilla turned to her large companion. "I said I got it." Bies merely nodded in response. There was a vampire still moving, trying to stand up. The one his steed had kicked. He stomped its head in, feeling it's brain squish beneath his feet.
"We're going to need to move faster. Before Leopold wonders where his scouts are. It was only a roaming party, with no specific purpose, so we have a chance."
"But we still need to move quickly." Ludmilla said, getting her sword, and wiping the bits of flesh hanging from it, before sheathing it. Bies merely nodded again. "Unfortunately, it seems you've sent my horse running."
Bies grumbled under his breath for a minute. He seemed to be arguing with himself. "Very well. You can ride with me. Before we arrived, we would've had to get rid of the horse anyways."
Ludmilla gulped, taking in the fiery steed in a long glance. She nodded to herself. "Alright." Bies gave her a hand up, and they trotted forward, leaving the battlefield.
There was no blood upon that field, for vampires and homunculi do not bleed. There were only corpses and body parts scattered about, the only remnants.
Rain began pouring down upon the two riders.
"You're Hunter's will not be disturbed by the horse or the bodies?" Bies asked.
Ludmilla shook her head. "They will follow the plan, no matter what."
Bies made his way through the drenching rain. "I believe your plans will fail. This is not a land of hope. It is a land of darkness. I know it well."
"We're going to change that."
"Nothing ever changes."