The Huntress

This story is set in a different world called Azure - a world of the most unique creatures from mermaids to unicorns to dragons to another species you must have never heard of - The Hunters. They are an immortal species of ruthless females, extremely proud and emotionless, considering themselves to be above all other species claiming that they do not have any weaknesses. Aria is a great Huntress, having trained for ages. She too considers herself superior and different, not having feelings or any other lame emotion Humans posses, but when Aaron, a young guy from the Human world, stumbles into her world, a lot of things start changing for Aria.

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2. The Trespasser

Aaron’s eyes fluttered open when he felt the prick of sunlight on his face, expecting to see the usual ceiling of his bedroom above him but instead finding something that completely took him by surprise. He was lying beneath a canopy of tall, green trees and the sunbeams were filtering through the scarce spaces between them. Then he realised the bed beneath him was just soft, dewy grass and that gave him a good kick. What was he doing in a wood like this?

And then everything came surging back to him. He had been at a cave the previous night. He remembered entering, out of sheer curiosity and he also remembering a green light and feeling dizzy. And that was it. There was no memory of him ever travelling to a wood or falling asleep there.

He decided to get up and look around, in case he found his answers. The earthy smell lingering in the air tickled his nostrils. He loved it. He loved being in the wild. That had been the reason he had detoured to that little forest the previous night, just to be close to nature. But he had ended up going a longer way inside than he had originally intended, thus coming across that funny little cave that had intrigued him so much. Was that how he had ended up here in this wood? But that wasn’t logical. How could there have been a vast wood like this one inside a small cave?

He walked ahead, head feeling heavy but the freshness of the wood around him was way too overwhelming. He felt like a part of it already. His entire life, Aaron had lived in a busy town, so a wood like this was foreign to him. How he would have loved to come to this place for camping...or better still, for living. Under normal circumstances, he would have been enjoying the lovely heaven he was in, but the queer sensation of having no memory at all of ending up here was tugging at his subconscious, because of which anxiety was slithering into his mind, causing panic. What if he would never go back home?   

His musings were interrupted by a roar from far ahead. It wasn’t the roar of a lion, definitely, but it seemed to be coming from something far worse. The next thing he knew, an arrow was sticking out of his right shoulder blade and an infernal pain was pounding through him, every fiber of his being screaming in agony. The arrow was silver, he saw, which he knew meant that it was lethal. Sure enough, his breathing started getting raspy and it felt like his life was ebbing away from him, slowly and painfully.

Vision blurry, he looked ahead to see who his assailant was. A horde of female figures were prancing towards him, looking furious and extremely affronted, and also carrying a longbow and a quiver of silver arrows each. They reached the spot where he lay whining in pain and fixed him with dirty glares that only indicated how enraged they were. None of them spoke, the only sound cutting through the silence being his own recurring moans.

“Help…me…” he rasped desperately, knowing that it was of no use but trying even so. Sure enough, none of his assailants acknowledged his plea, simply glaring at him with vicious eyes similar to those of wild predators.

"How did you come here, Human? How did you find Azure?" a girl with chin-length black hair spoke angrily, glowering at him.

"I - I don't know..." he moaned, guessing that he was in a place called Azure and that the natives there were not extremely hospitable. But he was in too painful a state to delve into further details. "Please...help...please."

"You don't know?" she mocked. "Tell us how you came here, Human, we do not want to hear nonsense."

"I told you, I don't know!" he said, using up the last vestiges of his energy and then collapsing into a pitiable heap again. 

The girl looked like she was going to snap again, but then, suddenly, someone else spoke. “Dress his wounds.”

The rest of the clan turned their heads to look at her with raised eyebrows and expressions of ridicule like she had just proposed an implausible idea. Aaron swept the crowd to find the one that had spoken for him. She stood in front, golden hair rippling in the wind and blue eyes staring at him, not with sympathy but with intrigue. She made no response to her brethren’s astounded reactions until the first girl spoke directly to her.

“What are you saying, Moira?” she hissed, dark eyes filled with disgust fixed on Aaron, watching him whine pitiably. “He is a trespasser.”

Moira stared for a longer while, apparently making calculations in her head but finally she repeated her statement. “Dress his wounds.”

And on that cue, a few of the other girls moved ahead and started working on his fresh wound, roughly plucking the arrow from it and doing a lot of other things that Aaron couldn’t grasp, muttering incomprehensible things under their breath that were possible insults aimed at Moira, still keeping half an eye on him throughout all of this in case he tried to make a move. They needn’t have worried. Aaron was thankful that he wasn’t going to die after all.

The girl with the chin-length black hair and icy cold dark eyes spoke again, in a fainter but still audible voice. “Moira, what are you thinking? He is a trespasser, we cannot forgive him –”

“Aria,” the other girl snapped. “Look at his build.” Her eyes shone, examining Aaron who lay before her, apparently deep in thought. “Do you not think he could be fit to become a Hunter?”

Aria looked at her ridiculously before letting out a short, mirthless laugh. “Become a Hunter? Moira, you very well know that one cannot become a Hunter. Besides, what do we need a new Hunter for? We already have plenty.”

The two of them discussed further in low, angry voices, feverishly debating the fate of the maimed young person lying before them in a state of agony. The few girls who were fixing his wound now produced a vial of shimmering liquid that they poured right on his gashes. He felt a sharp, piercing pain momentarily and then, just like that, the blood stopped flowing and the tormenting pain ceased. The wound disappeared like magic without even leaving a scar, like it had never even been there. Aaron looked up at the girls, fascinated. 

"What was that?"

"Phoenix tears," one of them said shortly, making Aaron wonder whether he was in some sort of a queer dream. How had he ended up here in a strange world like this? 

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