Magic and Guns

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Guild of Honour

Submitted: April 15, 2016

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Submitted: April 14, 2016

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I strolled through the woods, basking in the sunlight, and ignoring the entire world. Of course, that was until my life was turned upside down. In more ways then one.

I cracked into a cart, and took a few steps back, sliding over a puddle and crashing down headfirst, onto the floor.

Like I said. In more ways than one.

I’m Kardora, a Dark Angel demon hunter. I always wore my combat suit, which had an integrated laser gun in the left arm, and a sword in the scabbard.

Black feathers danced in the wind as I waved my wings to slowly bring the feeling back to them. I stood up cursing, still staring at the puddle, when a foot daintily landed in front of me.

“Are you alright?”

I looked up at a fairy. Her hair was a light brown, and short, ending just beneath her ears. She didn’t seem particularly tall, and wore a long, flowing dress, partly made out of leaves, partly out of white fabric.

“Yeah.” I stood up, and tripped, crashing down onto the floor. She giggled, before flushing and looking away.

Slightly more carefully, I stood up. “Where are you going? I mean before you knocked me over?”

“I.. er... Angalicus.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Forgive me for asking, but why?”

She attempted to smile. “Pico and I are travelling.”

“Pico?”

“My familiar. A Pegasus.”

A familiar was an animal that was bonded to someone. Their life force was directly linked to their master, and was a kind of way of nature reminding us where we came from.

My familiar was waiting for me in Angalicus. He was a wolf, named Howler. We had gotten separated, and we’d agreed if anything went wrong, to meet there.

“Interesting.”

“Where... where are you going?”

“Angalicus.”

“Well, if you don’t mind riding in the cart, we’ll give you a ride. And besides, you’re a demon hunter right?”

“Yeah. Thanks.” I rubbed the crest on my shoulder plate, thinking about all the hard work I had done to get it.

I pulled onto the cart and found a spot to sleep. The fairy leapt on her white pegasus.

“So, you’re a pegasus knight?”

She span around. “Yes. After a while though... I left to warn other cities and forests of the demons.”

“What do you do now?”

“Huh?”

“Well, everywhere knows about the demons.”

“Er... Just explore. Do a few contracts.”

“Mercenary?”

She kicked her steed and the cart slowly trundled along the road.

“That’s not what I consider myself, but...”

“That’s what you are?”

“More what I’ve become. Pico and I will visit Angalicus, before visiting my home forest.”

“Where is it?”

“Only a few days walk.”

Pico snorted. “A few hours flying.” She seemed unusually withdrawn for a familiar that was a travel companion.

“Geez Pico, be nice.”

I shut my eyes, letting the motion of the cart send me to sleep.

When I woke up, it was pitch black. Stars shone in the night sky, and a cloud drifted over the moon.

“Wakey, wakey.” The fairy stood over me, her hands on her hips, “Oh, and we picked up this on the way.”

She stooped and picked up a wolf.

“Howler!”

He leapt, kicking her in the stomach, before landing on my lap. A few minutes later, I leapt out of the cart, said my thanks and entered Angalicus.

Angalicus was a small city, yet at the exact same time it was the Dark Angels’ capital. A long time ago, the Dark Angels started a war, hellbent on global conquest. They failed, and now only a handful of us and one city remains, and eternal punishment for our ancestors’ actions. Of course, the other races aren’t always nice to us. Understandable really.

“Hey, Kardora?”

“Mmmm?”

“Whatcha thinking?”

“Nothing. Let’s find some more demons.”

The streets were made out of stone paving, and the houses were drab and plain. The entire city was grey and black, and the atmosphere was... depressing.

Near the end of the street, was a red brick building. Its doors were wooden, with golden hinges and handles.

This was the mercenary guild, and this was where I spent most of my time.

As I wrenched open the doors, Howler commented “I cannot believe a plan we made actually worked.”

“Meaning?”

“Well, you said if we ever got separated, to come here.”

“And?”

“Well that fairy found me right next to the city, right.”

“Er...”

“Oh yeah. You were asleep.”

I stepped to the receptionist’s desk, before bulling out a tusk from my belt, and slamming it on the desk.

Instantly, the entire hall erupted into cheering. The great demon was dead. Slayed by my blade.

A few days later, I was training in the guild. ‘Training’ meant hitting a wooden dummy in various ways until it shattered. I used a one handed sword, so there was a surprising amount of variation. Uppercut, slash, kick, and then fire.

Okay. So there probably isn’t that much variation. As my laser gun smoked another time, I sighed.

Dark angels were known for their technology. I was a combat suit pilot. A combat suit was a suit of armour, equipped with servos that increased my strength tenfold. The left arm had an integrated laser cannon. When I activated it, it slid from my arm, covered my hand, and nearby light is converted into a deadly laser.

Just as I sat down, the door crashed open. “Kardora?”

“Tough being popular, isn’t it brother?”

I turned around to see Lila, my sister standing, looking smug. I said nothing, and simply rolled my eyes. She was an angel. The only difference was her wings had white feathers, instead of black. Apart from that, we were the same species.

Lila was surprisingly strong for an Angel, and had a surprisingly strong willpower. Therefore, she got to pilot Titan combat suits. They were gigantic, and were used to soak up fire, and soften the enemy. The suit’s left arm had a massive chaingun, and her right arm had no equipment – just an enormous fist. However, they were extremely draining to pilot, and only a handful of creatures had the willpower to pilot them.

Following the employee, I stood next to the receptionist’s desk. In front of me stood Trixie.

“Well, ain’t this a coincidence. Didn’t walk into any carts?” Pico seemed in a mood. Again.

“Shut up.”

“Er...” The attendant looked confused.

“Well? You aren’t here for a chat I know that.”

“Yikes! Couldn’t you be any more blunt Kardora?” Howler strode up from behind me, shaking his head.

Trixie crossed her arms. “Two things.”

“Well? I’m listening.”

“First there’s a demon near my home village that we can’t kill. It’s too fast.”

“Interesting.”

“And… er… I’m not really in a position to tell you about the second thing.” She giggled nervously.

“Well. Let’s see this demon.”

“Um…” She shuffled her feet nervously. “How much?”

“No matter.”

“Huh?” Pico seemed surprised.

“Hey! You gave me a lift. I’ll call it payback. Clearing the debt.”

“Okay. Just… er…”

“I know.” Dark Angels weren’t really welcomed by the pixies. They suffered the most losses in the war.

Travelling to the village was painful. Trixie didn’t say a word and Pico moaned.

Finally, I folded my wings, as I swooped down from the sky, crashing into a tree.

“Uff!”

Trixie giggled. “You know you fly around trees, right?”

“I didn’t see it.”

There was a shout. “Demons!”

A pixie sprinted out from the trees, and shoved me out of the way.

To clarify, pixies were simply male fairies. Unfortunately, I quickly saw what the ‘disturbance’ was. A massive demon that towered over the forest.

As it slowly trudged towards me, I turned to Trixie and asked “I don’t think this is the one.”

“No… This is bad… That thing will level the entire village!” Panic seized her voice.

“Well. What are we sat here for?” Howler leapt out of the amulet in a cloud of dark mist.

Grinning, I drew my sword and marched to face the creature. The gun slid out, and I fired a few shots at the creature.

It worked – it turned around and noticed me. Howler padded up to my side. As the earth shook with every step, I stood my ground, firing shot after shot.

I wasn’t really doing much damage, but it was enough.

Then the sounds rushing to my ears were punctured by rapid gunfire. Spinning around, I saw Trixie, holding two pistols, determination set deep into her face.

Spinning around, I continued firing on the creature, until it slowed, and sank to the ground.

I sprinted at it, the servos sending me at a faster speed than I could ever hope to reach on ground. In one swift strike, the beast toppled to the ground.

The shockwaves were tremendous. As I recovered, Trixie approached, half relieved, half confused.

“How...”

Pico quickly followed. “I got to admit, it died rather... easily.”

Standing up, I stated “Their weight is their weakness. I shot its legs until it caused a reflex. Then, it couldn’t stand up.”

“Oh... Was it that simple?” Trixie flushed.

“Yeah! Kardora’s the best!” Howler appeared out of nowhere, and instantly earned a scowl off me.

“So, where’s the other demon?”

“Ummm... I don’t know. It was around the other side of the village.”

“Let’s find it.”

The stroll to the other side was maddening. Demons leapt out from every bush, all intent on tearing your throat out or killing you in other less-than-gentle methods.

Something smashed me in the head, and I crumpled to the floor. The suit crashed into the ground, echoing and clanging.

Spinning around, I saw Trixie struggling against a tiny demon. It was evading every stroke and jab, and retaliating with a kick or a flying punch.

I attempted to hit it, but it ended up with my sword locked with Trixie’s lance.

“Where-” I flew forward, crashing into Trixie. I span around, grabbed one of her pistols and fired a single shot.

It was so surprised it froze. The bullet pulverised it and left nothing behind. We sat on the floor for a few brief seconds, gasping.

Then, I returned her pistol, said my goodbyes, and proceeded to leave the forest. My destination was Angalicus.

“Wait. My father wants to talk to you.”

I span round. “Let’s make it quick.”

The looks from other villagers weren’t exactly... pleasant. Eventually, Trixie took me to a kind of tree house that towered over everything.

The guards nearly had a fit when they saw me, but Trixie, with a bit of ‘gentle’ persuasion, convinced them to let me in. The first floor was grand, with two staircases, one on each side. The entire building was made out of wood and rope, which looked surprisingly beautiful – if you could ignore the fact you could see the fall beneath your feet.

Trixie took me up to the second floor and through a set of doors that were fit for royalty.

It turned out I couldn’t have phrased it better. A red carpet was laid. At the end of it was a wooden throne, where an ancient pixie sat. He eyed me with suspicion before saying “Is he?” His voice was raspy and shaky.

“Yes.” Trixie walked up to the throne, and turned around to face me.

“What is this? I want an answer!” I drew my sword, instantly attracting the attention of a dozen guards.

“Please. I mean no harm.” He waved his hand, and the guards, hesitatingly, backed away.

I sheathed my sword.

“You don’t trust people much do you Kardora?”

“Trust gets you dead.”

“Mmm... But trust could also save your life.”

“Unfortunately... I guess you’re right. Occasionally.”

“I would like to ask you to do a job for me. I can pay you a lot.”

“What is it?” I never said ‘yes’ unless I knew exactly what the risks were. Just a little insurance.

“I would like you to kill a demon.”

“Really? What’s all the secrecy for?” I tapped my foot, not impressed.

“Demons! Leta me at em!” Howler leapt out of the amulet, the black smoke vaporising to reveal an eager, bloodthirsty wolf.

“Howler. Quiet.”

“Er... Sorry boss.”

The king cleared his throat.

“What’s the demon?”

Trixie stood up from a tiny wooden chair, which was dwarfed by the throne.

“It’s a scorpion. In the desert.”

The desert was past the mountain range where Angalicus was situated. It was enormous, and even today, it hasn’t been fully mapped.

“What’s the rush?”

The king recoiled in shock.

“Are you not a demon hunter?”

“Yes, but there’s plenty of angel forces in the desert.” This wasn’t a lie – deep in the desert was the combined military base of the angels and dark angels. Any demon would be entirely annihilated by combat suits and titans.

It would have to be some ridiculously strong demon to warrant me targeting it.

“Well... It... It isn’t a threat yet... But...”

Her face contorted into various expressions, before it became vaguely... depressed.

I laughed. After seeing her face, I probably didn’t need to put her through any more trouble.

“Fine. I’ll do it. Any catches?”

“Just one. You won’t go alone.” The king shuffled, awaiting the response.

“You’re kidding right?” There was silence.

“Nope.” Lila strolled up behind me, followed by Ricky – her unofficial boyfriend and captain of the Dark Angel infantry – everyone who can’t afford a combat suit.

I let conversations bounce around me, zoning out. Great. Just great.

“Kardora?”

“Hmmm?” I looked up at Trixie.

“We’re going.” Her voice was cold and her words blunt.

“Yeah...”

“Kardora? Wait.” The king stood up. Spinning around, I faced the king.

“Take care of her. Trixie.”

“I will your highness.” Spinning around, I asked “Howler? You ready to spill guts?”

“Oh, hell yeah!”

I joined the party a few minutes later.

“Kardora! We decided we’re not gonna stop off at the military base. I’ll be back. I just need permission to get my Titan.” With that, Lila left.

Great. Stuck with an immature idiot and a fairy. My life was going from better to worse.

An eagle swooped from the skies and landed on Ricky’s shoulders. His familiar, Dorvan.

We left the forest, and I trailed behind, bored. I was always bored. Nothing really kept me interested, not even demons... hence why I attempted to retire.

But I got bored of retirement too.

Ricky was babbling excitedly to Dorvan, the noise going over my head. I stopped paying attention to the world.

Until someone called my name.

“Huh?”

“Were you listening?”

“Wha-” I looked around. Trixie was sat on Pico, whom was to the right, both looking at me.

Ricky had stopped and was staring at me.

“So... No.” Trixie sighed, and spurred her steed on.

“What I said,” Ricky started walking forward, “Do you think I should save up for a combat suit?”

“Well... Which do you fight best with? It ain’t a genius question.”

With that I strode ahead of everybody, my servos whirring. A few minutes later there was a clunk.

I glanced down at my wrist. Low charge. Using the control pad, I deactivated most of the suit. Every step felt like a mountain.

It was hell, but when Lila came round, I could hook up the suit to her battery. That was a Titan’s secondary function – a mobile battery.

The other two caught up pretty quickly.

“Hey Kardora! I know the desert is a long while away, but seriously?” Ricky laughed.

I said nothing as he sprinted ahead, laughing.

“Are you alright?” I glanced at Trixie.

“Yeah. The suit’s ran out.”

She frowned, as she watched me strain with each step.

“Are you sure?”

“Uh-uh.” I grunted as I took another step. I stopped, gasping.

“Hey. Do you need a lift?” Pico glanced over.

“Er...”

“Hey guys! Wait up!”

I sat on Pico’s back, trying not to grin at Ricky’s form slowly decreasing in size.

“Hey brother!” There was a thud as a huge, white suit of armour smashed down a little while away.

As Ricky followed screaming, the surroundings slowly cleared, revealing a stark blue sky, punctured with wispy clouds. The cockpit of the titan opened, and Lila leapt out.

She glanced over, and proceeded to reach back into the cockpit. A few seconds later she dropped to the floor, followed by a contraption.

I clambered off Pico and trudged towards the machine. It attached to the armour, and I heard clunking as the suit slowly prepared to open.

Ricky stumbled into the clearing, panting. “That’s not fair!”

“You’ve got wings. What are you moaning about?”

“Are you actually suggesting that?”

“Yes I am –”

There was a clunk and the suit split open. My wings slid out from the back of the suit and I walked out of it.

Trixie seemed to have a look of shock plastered to her face. I drew a pistol, and let the machinery which the suit back into the titan.

“Let’s go.” Lila jumped into the titan and the cockpit slammed down.

“Er... So you actually trained in the infantry?” Ricky matched my pace as I strolled ahead of the group.

“Of course.”

“Oh. I thought you trained with a combat suit straight away.”

“No. A lot of people think that, but no.”

Lila, Trixie and Ricky stayed behind me, talking animatedly. I carried on walking ahead of the group, as the scenery stubbornly refused to change.

The time slowly slipped away until Lila piped up with: “Kardora. We need to set up camp.”

Howler and I spent a few minutes looking for a clearing, but found nothing.

Then a cat crawled out of the buses. Melanie, Lila’s familiar.

“We found a clearing.”

“Ok. Show us.”

The entire party sat around the camp fire. Lila cuddled up next to Ricky, while Trixie was examining our rations.

Meanwhile, I leaned on a nearby tree. It didn’t take long for Ricky and Lila to walk off, leaving me, Howler, Trixie and Pico at the campfire.

I carried on leaning on the tree, and slowly dropped off.

I battled through a snowstorm. The cold snow landed on my skin and chilled my bones. The gauntlet with the amulet was gone. I was alone. So, so alone.

I fell to my knees. The snow beneath me collapsed, throwing me into a cavern. A cavern that never ended. A dark, cold, infinite cavern. My sight vanished. All I could see was black, punctured by white snowflakes that seared my skin.

I was utterly, totally and entirely alone.

I gasped. My breath exploded in a cloud of mist.

“Are you alright?” I stared in a pair of soft, baby blue eyes.

“Uggh.” I stood up, still feeling the cold snowflakes. The chilling bones. The overwhelming darkness and loneliness.

Trixie stood up, looking quite worried.

“Um... Are you alright?” She asked again, more persistently.

“Yeah. Just... a bad dream.”

A very bad dream. And one that was not totally wrong. I did feel lonely. Always, permanently lonely.

I sat next to the fire, relishing the heat.

“You... you worried me.”

I glanced at her.

“How come?”

“You were twitching and didn’t look too well. And plus you suddenly slumped to the floor.”

“Kardora has a brilliant ability to sleep anywhere.”

“Howler. I don’t need your input.”

A dark mist flew out of the amulet, and Howler sat next to me, perfectly still.

“Well... I’m glad you’re alright.” A few minutes silence followed, as Trixie watched the cooking meat like a hawk.

“Why did the king send you?” Trixie looked almost offended.

“He sent me because I’m the captain of the pegasus knights.” Her voice had a posh tone, and she seemed really annoyed.

“Oh. Sorry. I didn’t know.”

“Oh. I thought....” She trailed off, and flushed.

Lila and Ricky entered the clearing. Lila had her arms hooked around Ricky’s torso as they sat down.

“Wakey, wakey, brother.”

“Mmmm...” I zoned out again, letting the conversations hurl themselves around me.

When the food was cooked, I took it and said my thanks. Then, I took my first bite. For travel food, it was actually pretty good. The meat was chewy, but for campfire cooking, it was decent quality food.

I gasped as I was shaken roughly.

“Wha-”

I glanced around, seeing nothing. The campfire had died out, and the tents were full.

I still couldn’t see what had shaken me until I turned around. Pico stood behind me.

“You can’t sit out here forever.”

“Yeah. See ya in the morning.”

I approached my tent and unzipped it. A few minutes later, I was curled up, staring at the moonlight shining through a tiny hole in the tent.

Silence reigned in the night.

A few owls hooted, but the silence threatened to take over every time. The cold night air viciously battered my tent and the night slipped away.

I woke up to the sound of crackling fires. I sat up, groaning. How did I get into this position?

Standing up as much as the tent would let me, I unzipped it and stepped out. The sky was dark, littered with rain clouds.

“So remind me, why can’t the big suit fly?” Pico tapped her hooves against the ground impatiently.

“They’re just for decoration.” I clambered over a log and sat down.

“It’s going to rain...” Trixie trailed off, staring at the sky.

“Well done, genius.” Ricky snapped.

“Ricky!” Lila looked over, shocked, “Be nice!”

“Shut up.” I grabbed a rock and hurled it in Ricky’s general direction. Not much truly shut Ricky up.

Ricky carried on talking, and I sat remembering the old days. Just me and Howler, killing demons by the dozen, assaulting every stronghold we found.

How I wished it could be like that. I had enough money to retire – and, I hadn’t even hit my forties. Which, for a Dark Angel, was quite young, bearing in mind most Dark Angels live to around 200 years old, give or take a few centuries.

“So... I heard a lot of things about your... achievements.” I looked up to face Trixie.

“Like what?” I was actually generally interested.

“How you took down the Blood Fortress, alone.”

The Blood Fortress was an old, impenetrable demon fortress. It was, in certain places, a living demon. Howler, Lila, and a few of my subordinates viciously assaulted it, tearing it to the ground.

“That’s not true. Lila helped me. As well as Ricky and a few infantrymen.”

“Oh. Not so impressive.” She smirked.

Ricky stood up. “Well I’m gonna go and start packin’ up the camp.” With that, he turned around and approached his tent. Lila and Trixie went to their appropriate tents, but I didn’t move.

“Kardora?” A wolf crawled out of the bushes, leaves clinging to his ears.

“Yeah? Hey... When did you get out?”

“I just went for a walk.”

“I never noticed.”

“So... what do you think about who we got stuck with?”

“Er... it could be better. Like the old days.”

“I agree. The old days were better. But, this is what we’re stuck with. And hey, it’s somewhat nice to have some company.”

“I don’t know if I agree.”

“What’s wrong with company?” Howler glanced at me.

“I never...” It made me think – why was I so against working with people?


© Copyright 2018 Kardora. All rights reserved.

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