People used to call it the Utopia. Most still do.
Hunter, to say the least, is not one of those people. He can't remember who the hell discovered the portal to this world, but he does know one thing: it was a curse on this place that they ever did.
Once, the serenity of this tranquil land was breath taking. But humans are still populating, still sending in their ghastly machines to build cities, crushing any beauty they might find in their path.
Hunter hates the cities, masses of ugly concrete mazes, the towering bricks like threatening giants. Of course, Hunter could own an entire tower. He could live like a king, servants bustling to accommodate for his every need, luxurious furniture lining his whole home.
Instead, he wakes to a small lodge, the sunlight flickering in through faded curtains. No expensive cuisine, just a simple meal of bread and cheese. Certainly not the lifestyle of any usual 'Guardian-Conqueror'. Not at all a name Hunter is proud of. To kill a Guardian is to earn yourself undying fame and money. To capture one... Is to increase this reward tenfold, because Guardians are like living power sources.
Hunter still remembers the face of the Guardian as he subdued it. Desperation. Fear. Hatred.
Glancing at his boots, Hunter wonders if it's finally time to be brave enough. Brave enough to face death, humanity, all else destructive. He decides that yes, it is. The nightmares, swelling with blisters of guilt, are becoming life-threatening to him. Several times, he's looked at the knife, convincing himself that the alternative to life is not going to free him of the guilty conscience, the eyes of the Guardian as they burnt into his very soul.
He slips his feet into the leather boots, taking his sword and bow from the table by the door. He buckles the sword to his belt, and slings his quiver of arrows over his back. The Dracaniumn weapons will do him well in a fight, but not so well as bullets, made of the same hardened metal, the only substance available to mankind that can penetrate the hide of an angry dragon. But guns aren't really his style, and besides, the weapons aren't to kill dragons.
They're for those who get in his way.
The scent of the city hits him without warning, slamming into his throat in an intense odour of pollution and fumes. Are we really so determined to sentence another world to the effects of this sort of machinery...? Hunter wonders, spluttering and trying to regain his composure as he enters the city, ripples of shock hitting him relentlessly as he weaves between busy people. His hood casts his pale face in dark shadow, hiding his identity from the curious minds of the citizens of this ugly habitat.
Each of them so repulsively human, with their ignorant faces as they pass by the so-called 'architecture'. They might call it art, but the hideous objects are there only as trophies, crafted from the bones or scales of creatures mankind have killed.
Their only purpose is to remind people of humanity's glorious victory. Of the merciless killing they could care nothing for. Hunter bows his head silently to a statue coated with dragon scales. The scales are small and undeveloped, else they wouldn't be able to wind them so meticulously around the metal statue. It's not even like they make half of these out of the skins of creatures they actually killed in battle.
No. Humans aren't that rescourceful.
They slaughter mere chicks to craft their art - at least that's what they call it.
Hunter feels the guilt again, welling up within him as he passes the monuments, silently pledging to amend this, to return something he stole from this world. Each hateful, monstrous thing he walks past is a reminder of his days in the Military.
Days spent polishing Dracaniumn weapons, practising endlessly with his archery and swordplay until he was legendary in his unit. His kill streak had been high before the Guardian. After that, he'd left, because people could only tolerate so much screaming each night, the nightmares of guilt torturing his sleep until he awoke screaming and crying.
Hunter flinches as the memories come back, people secretly whispering behind his back, not daring to say any of it to his face because he captured a Guardian. And so he left, one day, abandoning his uniform on the bed he'd been sleeping in the previous night, and leaving.
He still doesn't regret that decision. They won the war a few weeks later; at least Hunter isn't forced to live with the guilt of mankind's victory, too.
Quickly, he heads towards the city centre, eyes scanning for the entrance to the underground Guardian prison. He sees it, guarded by humans with heavy, polished rifles, and strides over, his fingers closing around the golden medallion in his pocket.
"Stop there," one of the guards orders him, but Hunter slips back his hood, drawing out the medallion. Oh, how he hates it, the cold weight in his hand, the finely inscribed surface of lies. 'Guardian Conqueror', it reads.
He hates that title, but it's needed for what he has to do.
"I captured one of them," Hunter growls, and they stare at the medallion with disbelief. "So take me down there. I want to see the one I caught."