The Black Dragon - Black Dragon R1 - Pest Control[Toggle Names]
Description: As perhaps the worst Hunter to ever attempt the Guild's tests, Akame doesn't usually find herself swamped with job offers. Her own timidness combined with her F-Class rating makes it hard for anyone to justify hiring her for anything more dangerous than cleaning out a particularly nasty rat infestion or rescuing grumpy cats from trees. But when all of the professionals are busy, even a rookie hunter has their chance to shine.
Seated where they were half obscured by the towering shadows, stockinged knees pressed together and ankles turned inwards she balances on her haunches. The hemline of a short pleated skirt hovering just above the filth encrusted alleyway and murky liquids pooling underfoot. The traffic that passed around all hours of the day left a stink of fumes and smoke that permeated the area and hung in the air. The pungent smell of the smoke and fumes, the rancid smell of the alleyway the tiny figure felt miles distant from the ocean of green trees and far reaching highway stretching away from the city across the other side of the highways
. Lifting a baggy obscured limb only for her pale and thin fingers to emerge and press against the bridge of a pair of rose red spectacles, shunting them back into place. The mirroring scene flashes across the lenses of distant trees keeps brown eyes obscured.
Hours earlier, seated in similar fashion the same bundle of cardigan had been disturbed by a loud ringing. Walking across the floor to the seldom used device she'd cradled it to her ear with both hands, excited just a little she answered politely expecting it was another wrong number or one of the delightful people trying to interest her in their services. She often talked to them at great length just for the company. Instead - she dropped the phone, quickly fishing it back up by the wired cord and juggling the receiver back into position. Yes, yes ma-am, Yes. All hands were needed on such a scale that even retirees like Akame were being approached to see if they could still work.
Someone needed her help. She wasn't a part of a team.. wasn't holding anyone back...
Her hand, still poised where her fingers were pressing the glasses into place retracts her chilled fingers. The sleeves itself had an unpleasant stench this close to her nose, a more potent bouquet of the already present scents and smells from the environment tinged with a sharp metallic smell of blood. Perfect.
The hours spent kneeling here were hardly a waste, if she was going to go hunting then she had to smell as much like the environment as possible. Unfolding to her full unimpressive height with a slow deliberate measure meant to help alleviate any sudden kinks or muscle stiffness. Akame immediately hug-leans heavily on a garbage can, the cramp in her calves and thighs bringing tears to her eyes even as she repeated as a mantra.
"This is alright! This is fine! I'm, ..all good. One hundred percent!!"
Starting to limp off down the alleyway paralleling the highway she has every intention of working her way inward and then back, patrolling and protecting an arterial route to and from the city. Hunting stray cats and dogs, this outbreak or contagion of monsters had to contained.
Right, she'd play her part and do her best!
The cuff of her sleeve simultaneously shreds and is blown apart and burned away by a gout of blood from her wrist emerges at high pressure, then slows and flows backwards as a thick treacle of syrup rather than making contact with the ground. The scimitar of gloopy blacks and reds is a constantly roiling liquid that doesn't so much as wobble as she takes a couple of practice swipes.
Alright! Ready for act-ion!
Akame could hear the sound from the distance.
Down the long highway away from the city, the echoing was coming before the shape was formed. Foot steps were heard, beastial steps. In the darkness, something was coming. Away from the fighting, the chaos. Somebody, or rather, something slipped past the borders, the cordons, the secure wall to keep the monsters from prowling the residential areas outside of Southtown. A shape was there, bounding in that hideous half-form of a man-sized creature running down the road. Burning red eyes could be seen from here, as it bounds in that half-gallop run on all fours before alternating back on two feet. The sound was clear as day though, in this darkness of night.
It was crying.
Heartfilled crying, suffering crying. Like an animal in pain. It would jolt up, before sinking down below into a feral hiss. As the shape comes closer and closer, Akame would have plenty of time to brace herself. But the form grows more clear; it looks like a dark-skinned, muscled woman in tattered bikini below the neck. Her hands and feet were covered with canvas bags; an attempt to make distorted 'paws' over her hands, feet, and upper arms and legs. Her head had a potato sack over it into a kind of hood. She was close enough now, that her whispers and babbling between cries could be heard now. "I don't know what's happening Meow!" Comes the high-pitched whine. It goes from giggling, to sobbing, to hissing, as she keeps going, fangs peering out from underneath those glowing red eyes.
"I don't know what's happening Meow!"
Reacting to the approaching of an unrecognised figure with its apparent inhuman movement. Akame takes up a kendo stance, firm your resolve girl, find some grit to hold your ground with! A long gone mentor chastised. Both tiny hands gripping and squeezing the hilt of the bloody scimitar she moves it into a high stance. If the beast attempted to bound past or directly at her (for her throat most likely) she could try to sidestep turn and slash.
She was nervous in a too familiar way, not a wreck but the knot and unpleasant flutter in her stomach was back. A feeling she hadn't experienced in quite some time. Akame wasn't so focused however that the fact the approaching girl was crying was lost on her.
Standing right in the monster girls path the tiny figure of petite girl swings a sickle curved sword to her side, held aloft like it was barring her path and as many drops of fresh blood fall from it. Creepily extending a bloody hand toward the catgirl while an even more insidiously creepy smile plays across a face where the girls eyes were obscured by the gleaming bright lenses.
Akame's best customer service smile fixed in place she asks projecting loud and clear.
"Are you lost?"
At first, the catgirl seems to just notice Akame.
She leaps back, landing on all fours. And then, she scrambles -too- fast to Akame. Was she attacking? No, she stops as she comes in close. Her tail perks up, as she tilts her head at Akame. And then, she gets closer, at the smiling girl. Closer. Closer.
But the catgirl recoils at the bloody hand.
"Ew! You are bloody all bloody bloody gross! Sometimes food is bloody but we eat it anyways meow and again!" There is a spasm through the girl, as she grips her head. "Nyaaaah! I want to hurt you! Because then I get food and not get hurt and beaten and b-b-bad men touching my tail." Another spasm, as the catgirl falls to her knees. "Nyah! Nyah! But I just want to play with my friends! I just want to play with Manx-kaka and Smoothy-Kaka and- and Momokaka, and I want Momokaka, I- I don't understand what's happening to me meow!" She lets out a howling hiss, like a cat that's been stepped on in the night, with a whimper.
"And the bad men keep shooting at meow, and I am scared." She says, curled up in a ball.
In the distance, there is the sound of a motorcycle engine.
Akame doesn't understand half of the high speed rambling. She doesn't particularly feel threated by threats of violence to her person. Though her eyes twitch and narrow at that particular line. Not an innocent. But- also a scaredy cat who seemed to be motivated by fear and hunger.
"THEN-- hide under a damn box you stupid cat!!"
Eh! Fuck!! Akame forgot to swear, it was a necessary measure to project both competence and threat instead she swings the scimitar to point as nearby trash and boxes. Akame never takes her eyes off the cat-thing. Mostly because she's more than aware it could be a trick or a sly darkstalker pretending to be a harmless idiot. If there was a chance however-
A tiny four year old girl screaming and crying into a now the silent night, surrounded by and kneeling in pools of splattered blood, surrounded by dozens of corpses of her family and neighbours all lying unmoving around her.
She couldn't lift her sword against someone who was similarly crying, wanting to see their family or friends. She wasn't a monster.
The approaching rumble gets a half-measure of her attention, she won't let the cat-thing box out of her sight.
The catgirl just curls up. "I tried that just meow! But they found me, and were chasing me, and- and I ran away, I was supposed to fight but I ran away, I am supposed to fight and eat and kill nommy humans, because if I don't, I will get hurt and touched and tail pulled and cold hungry cold." She shivers.
"But I just want to go home."
Akame might not be noticing the motorcycle sound. But the catgirl jerks up, looking down the street at the singular headlight that was coming closer. "Nyah! Nyah! They are meow on my trail again! Nyah!" She meows pitifully, as she swishes her gaze around. "Where can I hide? Where can I go? Meow isn't the time to lose your head!" She dives into the boxes. There is a groaning sound within. The catgirl places a 'paw' on her tummy, as she lays on the boxes. "I am hungry!" She says!
"Do you have any nummies?
Akame most certainly did not have nya-ummies. She gives a weighty and exaggerated sigh that rolls her shoulder forward defeated. She feels this must be what it's like for some of her retired neighbours with their grandkids. So many responses COULD make but instead she just retracts the glut of blood that was her blade, it peels back into the bandaged wound on her wrist while still leaving a bloody mess on her hands and the ground at her feet.
"Maybe! that's why you keep getting found! Because you don't shut up!"
Yapping at the pile of trash where the cat was hiding in with straight arms at her sides and bunched up fists. Infuriating cat-thing that wants everything right now with no sense for danger. Honestly.
"Just stay hidden and I'll buy you a ramen bowl or something."
Since that was about eighty-five percent of Akame's diet she had no real idea if that'd suffice for a cat-thing. She'd never had a pet. They were expensive.
"And if you try hurting anyone. I'll kiiiiill you until you die from it. You got that?!"
Got it?! Good?!
The catgirl burrows deeper and deeper into the garbage. "I do not like dying, but I love rameow noodles! And birds! And delicious fish!" But the death threat comes, and the cat squeaks, and disappears under a pile of boxes and garbage.
The motorcycle pulls up.
The man was wearing a helmet; he looked like he was in a full body-suit with light feather scales sewn in. Podiebrad. Akame would have known those from around the Hunter's lodge. A House of Weird Hungarian Vampire Hunters that was tied to the hip with the NOL. Had very nice thermal baths. Akame was to never go to the thermal baths though. Never ever. When he pulls off the helmet, it confirms it with the raven-style gas masks signature to the Raven Guardsmen that make up the private army of the house.
The accented answer comes, as he knocks the kickstand up for the cycle. Placing the helmet on the seat of the motorcycle, he looks around, and then back to Akame. "You uh... you've seen anything funny around here... uh... girl?" He was stilted in language, before repeating the exact same thing in Japanese. He looks at the wrist, tilting his head. He pauses again, rubbing his wrist, mirroring Akame's own injury.
"You doing okay, are you hurt?"
Akame inflates herself with a pathetic level of bravado in the face of a massive helmet clad biker, chest puffed out and still only managing that small dog energy level of intimidation or threat. As he climbs off the crotch rocket, which she tries not to stare at and immediately dwarfs her. She brings both of her hands up in front of her, a guilty looking posture and bloody hands wringing other in front of her.
"...I'm -- probably the strangest fucking thing here."
A brilliant statement. The tiny hunter lies through omission and a hard truth. With talk of her being wounded she instead goes quiet and turns both her palms up to see the bloody mess she's made. To the casual observer she'd be extremely suspicious looking and warranting investigation, or citizens running and screaming for help.
"I'm fine! I suppose I should clean this up though"
What were they called again? Pedigree? Pobigod? They were vampire hunters right? That usually explained a lot of high fashion outfits or long coats. Most of the human ones she knew wore long coats to conceal the stakes and tools necessary for their work. Someone that hunted vampires without all that gear and tools was probably not to be fucked with. Her accented and formal speech was of an archaic Japanese, very old fashioned and talking like she was a retiree when she was at her most relaxed. Slowly and deliberately the bloody spots around her feet lift into wavering globules that hang in the air. Raindrop sized globes lifting from her palms as she shifts the spatter over to just behind another pile of trash, out of sight of the general public or garbage peoples. It requires intensive concentration and strain since the blood wasn't clean and now full of impurities or dying and turning cold.
"Thanks for coming to check over here. Did you get activated for this 'outbreak' crisis too?"
It was short notice to activate anyone, but if a whole host of vampire hunters were here then there was likely going to be a lot of casualties, on one side or another. Vampire hunters could rarely afford to back down when facing the prey they did, often relying on outsmarting and finishing their foe in an instant. Or trapping and killing. Werewolves did not go down so easily, it was a long battle that usually required killing them several times over until dying finally stuck
There was no disguising the actual worry. She was concerned for the safety of her colleagues, the man in front of her too. If he had to fight a Warwolf would he be okay?
The guardsmen cocks his head to one side.
Strangest fucking thing here. The guardsmen looks around, adjusting the rifle on his back. SKS, modified. Standard operating firearm of the Raven Guard since the Soviet days. The price of being the happiest barracks in the camp. She -was- suspicious. The merc kept looking around, his goggled eyes scanning around as Akame keeps talking. As the blood lifts up, the guard takes a step back. "Yeah, happened during the Estely too. We actually had the NOL show up, the good ones too, not the ones with their panties halfway down to their knees..." And then, it all clicks together for the Raven Guardsman. Blood. Salty language. The goofy Japanese. The worrying like a little puppy.
The name comes up. "Holy sh- Akame! Hunter's Guild mascot Akame! I thought you were F class- uh, retired." The implication was there. F Class was usually a new recruit into the Hunter's Guild, a trainee that wasn't scared away. Same with D class; You had D Class. You had C class, who was normal members in good standing. Yes you could get dropped because of bad standing. But that's not Akame. She never passed any of the training. That's always been the case. Could this get any more awkward. And yet, there is a shaking sound behind Akame. "Don't you remember me?" The Raven Guardsman says, adjusting his mask. "It's me, Jozhua!" Black hair comes out as he removes the gasmask, revealing a faceful of acne and ruddy cheeks, with a thin half-grown mustache over his lip.
"Remember, at the birthday party?"
The cardigan wearing girl allows the long sleeves to fall and swallow up her hands, clapping them together in front of her she rubs her obscured palms together and scrubbing away the residue of blood, brisk and loudly.
Trying to cover up some of the noise in the background.
"NOL huh? Have they suddenly decided to help monster-hunt or were they just looking to steal stuff while the troops were out?"
Even the best of those people had sticks up their butts about magical items and who should have them and how they're used. She pauses and her cheeks flare up red at any kind of recognition, as well as specifically mentioning her rank and retired status.
"That's not-I was reactive--How rude! I'm not a mascot!"
She pinwheels her arms around in her like dual helicopter propellers, eyes scrunched shut and kind of raging or throwing a tantrum on the spot. She didn't notice the newly revealed and unmasked face though she tries to politely force recognition.
"Oh! Y-yeah. It was ..a birthday party-- ...fooooor."
She was quite frankly at a loss. The atmosphere at her little guild hall was frequently celebratory as people came back from quests and threw a bunch of coin around. She supposed a birthday party had something unique about it. Like, someone had a kid? That'd be a cause to celebrate but she couldn't recall seeing any babies. She immediately jumps track.
"Of course I remember you! *she didn't really* Joshula. But-Did someone have a kid or something?"
No shit wait, that was not one of the names you used to the Pedigree guys faces. It was the older and more seasoned hunters who tended to add cutesy nicknames to other hunters. In her guild hall, people celebrated anniversaries of accomplishments. To pay tribute to those who were no longer with us with a raised glass. The only people she knew off to carry photos around of family tended to do so when drinking quietly and right up till the point they passed out.
She was really curious as to whose birthday it was. Maybe she was supposed to have gotten them a card or something for that.
"Well you know how the NOL gets."
Jozhua goes on. He was just 18; only a bit older than the younger Akame. "We're the unofficial private military contractors for them; like someone gets their nose bloodied up breaking a cordon, it's not the NOL, it's just your friendly neighborhood Raven Guard. Those cads. I'm actually using this to round out my training; my commander's really ticked off that I haven't made D rank yet." He gives a wheezing snicker snort through his nose, as he kind of steps back, leaning on the bike.
Didn't look like he even noticed the 'MMPH' from the pile of garbage.
"But yeah, you remember the old Patriarch's birthday? Aurel von Podiebrad, may his soul live eternal. We hosted it at the lodge, that's when Bela got announced. I guess people forgot it was his birthday, the old man didn't live long afterwards. I remember, you were getting all... anxious in the corner, so me and the boys got some bottles of wine for you, you know, to see if you can loosen up and have some fun. I think, I don't remember it too well. But I remember you, and the blood..." He touches on his own wrist, giving a... strained smile.
Oh no, he was flirting wasn't he.
"What do you think of the bike. It's one of those rice burners they let us have. Nothing like the old army surplus we got back home in the Manor." He runs a hand over the frame. "I'm pretty experienced cruising with my a motorcycle around the hills. You know, your birthday's coming up, right?" He leans against the bike, giving a single finger gun at Akame. "Maybe I can let you get a ride with me on it around the Manor grounds." There was a sudden burst of laughter in the trash. The guardsmen looks over.
"What was that?"
Bottles of wine? That didn't sound at all familiar.
A beet red Akame's face mid, long and boisterous screaming and wheeling an arm around overhead that was clutching a bottle, all while standing on one of the long oak tables, surrounded by Podiebrad who were all roaring with laughter. All the while trying to get her cardigan off because she was too warm and struggling with the barkeep who was trying to simultaneously yank her down and tell her she'd had enough.
She dimly recalled something.
She looked down and sideways away from the biker, a demure and embarrassed blush creeping into her cheeks and her glasses sliding down her nose as she looks down. How could take be, not even she knew when her birthday was.
"How rude! You didn't have to laugh. My anniversary of coming to the hunters guild was coming up... but I didn't think anyone was going to-"
She trails off. There would be no congratulations or drinks this year. She was retired and alone and could maybe treat herself to a larger than normal ramen bowl. But that was all she had considering planning. A girl who didn't know when she was born had no use for birthdays.
"It-it's a cool bike!"
Way too big for her, and she was still supposed to be too young to drive. But she was pretty good with bus and train schedules by now. The young man was showing off his motorcycle and a promsing carrer and family. And Akame was wondering if maybe she should get a cat. They were so expensive though! And they probably cost more to feed than she did... little feline bastards.
"..really? you wanna hang out with me?"
There's kind of a mute shock and the hint of tears welling up in the corners of her eyes. People usually didn't want to just hang out with the creepy girl who smelled a little of blood. Not when so many people tended to want to relax and the smell of blood brought back unpleasant memories.
"Anniversities, Birthdays, eh, whatever works to celebrate, huh..." The guardsmen was halting. While the charm was oozing like an open sore, he was distracted. His frail instincts were keying in, as he was sensing disruptions. Without his fellow guardsmen, he was alone. Sure, there was Akame, but she wasn't a Podiebrad. As Akame was lapping up the humanity and attention, Jozhua just nods distantly.
He wasn't looking at her now.
Stepping off away from his bike, he places a clawed hand on each of her shoulders. "The Guild's like family, you know? You're not a Podiebrad, but you're like, like a cousin! Yeah, like a cute cousin. We'll get a party for you, such a sweet thing. but..." He winces, like he's pulling out his own teeth. "We'll... need to have some fun later though." He whispers cautiously, as he releases Akame... and steps past her. He begins to work with the rifle slung on his back, leveling it out.
"Something's in the garbage over there."
Droplets of blood running down the inside of her palm, threads of blood inching down into hair-thin wolverine claws, both hands still clasped behind her back Akame nervously swivels her head looking toward the garbage pile that had drawn the young man's attention. Near flanking him and approaching his back just a little incautiously.
Light flares against her glasses and she swallows hard. There's clear concern and momentary regret.
Drawing one hand against the other she scores one hand with the sharp stinging blades of the other. Lifting her now deeply scratched and now bleeding hand into view with the thin strips and beads of blood of a recent cat scratch
A teensy bit of pain and blood shed to keep her promise."It was a cat. I made the mistake of getting too close because I heard it crying."
Akame curls both wrists forward, arms held vertical and at different heights into a Light Novel approximate pose of an anime catgirl.
She clearly though it was dorky too and scrubs one of her still bloody hands in her hair as she kind of scratches the back of her head. She was pretty much out of ideas at this point. She wasn't too sure what to think of, being called someone's cousin. That one was really weird. Sweet but weird.
"I'm on the trail of a cat."
Jozhua states firmly, a grimness coming in his tone. He begins to adjust his mask, as he keeps alert. "It snuck past me, all sneaky like. I was... lured asleep by its cat magic." Akame's competency apparently rises. "I'm trying to fix it. It's alone, so I think I can kill it." The moment Akame makes her Nyah, the other catgirl NYAHS! IN terror.
He looks over the injury a moment, and the pose.
"Yes, exactly like that! Oh no!" The Raven Guardsman puffs his chest out, trying to hold... embrace Akame? "Why didn't you say you were attacked by that savage hooded creature?" And then, his tone shifts. A deeper, heavier tone, as something seems to connect in his head. He pushes Akame away lightly. "... But you wouldn't... if you were... Retired... unretired... yes...""
"... Are you thinking you can fight it by yourself?"
It was an odd story. The idea that the prowling cat-girl had 'cat magic' which was such it could put an alert hunter to sleep. That was kinda worrying. She was about out of ideas or ways to help the cat-thing. And when a Jozhua, a still active Hunter draws her into an embrace; SHOCK! Akame.exe has stopped working and requires a few seconds to reboot. Pushed away with a slight and gentle touch, the petite teen tries to flash a smile, obviously flustered at being hugged out of nowhere but still trying to be professional. The glasses her a definite and most proper straighten. A cough into her fist
"I'd give it my best shot."
If she had to, she'd die trying to kill any monster, but a crying and wailing non-human felt too close to an innocent. It left a bad taste in her mouth. She always gave it a hundred percent when she was fighting a monster. It's just - that didn't usually amount to much in the grand scheme of things.
She kept her conscience clear
It was important to make the distinction between who she would or wouldn't use her powers on. Without her abilities she was pathetic beyond a joke. A despicable and hopeless weakling, if she chose to use her powers on or against humans there was no longer really a discernible difference between being a monster that was set to hunt other monsters, or a fellow hunter.
Not even keeping her promise to the cat-girl would save it if it attacked Jozhua. She'd protect the human, she was here as a temporarily reactivated Monster Hunter she had her alliegences. Perhaps she just wanted to let the thing go because she'd gone soft and it was putting good folk at risk.
It was something that was going to become real very soon.
As Akame made her declaration, there is a high-pitched scream. "YOU TRICKED ME!" Bursting forth from the garbage, was the catgirl. Was it about to happen? Was her civil treatment a mistake, that allowed the man to be savagely charged by the catgirl? Would blood be around, all the blood around? Would she have caused the death of a Podiebrad, by her sheer ignorance and incompetence? Already, the Raven Guard was staggering back, shocked at the sudden leaping catgirl.
But there wasn't any attacking of the hunter.
No, the cat girl shrieks again, and puts her bag paws over her head as she falls to her knees. "Nyah! Nyah! It hurts! It hurts! Nyahthing is working right meow!" Another delirious babbling, of a creature on the border of feral madness, and desperate effigies of humanity. She curls up into a ball, sobbing, crying. "Daddy... DADDY..." She prattles on pathetically. "Where is mommy... DADDY..." She wasn't going to attack. She couldn't. Everything inside her head wanted her to kill humans. But there wasn't much anything in her head, anyways.
Jozhua was very carefully taking aim with his rifle.
No sudden movements. "There we go..." Jozhou says softly, as he lines up his rifle, getting the sights right between the creature's blood red eyes. "There's the naughty kitty. You're lucky Akame. This thing's going to be just like shooting cats in a barrel. I'll tell them you helped out, it was a big fight. Bagged, tagged, and we got ourselves a 'stopped rogue Darkstalker.' We'll both be D rank hunters after this. No more newbies. No more people laughing at us. We'll be on the way to be legitimate hunters. Real killers."
And his finger tightens, as he readies to pull the trigger.
Akame positions herself between the Hunter and his prey. Arms spread wide and looking right down the barrel of the rifle back at Jozhua.
A level voice with just the edge of a sniffle. She wasn't pleading with him, or bargaining. The churning in her stomach was guilt and sadness. There was no real reason to get involved, go against a guildmate working a job.
"I don't want to watch someone crying out for their parents be killed by anyone!! Let alone people I respect and admire!"
She was begging him. She hated herself right now, she was losing control. Part panic, the lion's share of it guilt she could feel the hot tears starting to trickle down her cheeks. She raises her arms a little higher, as though she were trying to make herself look bigger.
"Just tell your leaders the truth. I've lost my edge and gone soft, and I got in your way. You don't have to kill like this."
Keep your humanity. Akame knew it was a very real phenomenon that some hunters lost themselves in the abyss; became the monsters that monsters feared. Tolerated only because they were allied with human interest and surround by comrades and peers who had to reckon that they'd cut their friend down themselves if that last line was crossed.
"I've never wanted to be a killer. I don't really mind if people laugh at me. I just wanted to protect what humanity I have left, so my peers don't decide they have to put me down."
The sad shrug and headquirk she gives Jozhua accompanies a soft smile. She wasn't worried about herself in this equation. Akame never worried about herself or her own health, a quirk of the anaemic regenerative powers she possessed and a complete lack of pride or accomplishment.
"I won't hate you if you have to choose to kill. It's your job. I just -- have to stand here."
Because of what I am?
Because of what I value?
Or because--? The sound of crying and calling for parents rings in her ears.
Understanding why she was doing it didn't change anything though, she squares her shoulders and scrunches her eyes closed willing to take her licks and punishment. Half-sure he might just shoot her for what amounted to treachery.
The crack of rifle fire comes out, with a babbling response in Hungarian curses. He pulls his rifle away, as he points it to the ground, panick seizing Jozhua's heart. "AKAME! WHY!" He states, as he gradually realizes, with the sobbing catgirl, and the 'retired' huntress not bleeding to death in front of him, that yes, he pulled away in time. Or he just -missed- at point blank. He was trembling, as he tries hard to stablize himself. "You... I... I..." He stops, as a great exhale comes out from his mask.
And Jozhua tightens his clawed hand into a fist.
He slings his rifle over his shoulder. Was it over? Did Akame win? "Get into your stance, little girl." He growls, his tone shifting. Gone was the awkward teenager trying to flirt with what he was treating as a hot underaged cousin. In it's place? A faceless merc, of the ranks of the Podiebrad. "In the House of Podiebrad, we have the illegitimate children of the Patriarch, many of them just like this creature here. My half-brothers and half-sisters. Adoptees. Favored consorts. Rescued from their fate of being hunted by their legitimate siblings to earn their rank in the hunters. They are expendable, and they have a choice. Serve the house, or within the ranks of the Raven Guard." He circles around once, as the catgirl shifts into giggling.
"You know what the right of the Bastards are?"
He points a claw at Akame, shaking his raven masked face. "The right of the bastard is that they must make themselves useful, and thus is the only way to hold status in their family. You are not a bastard, Akame, not even to the Hunters Guild. Maybe you really were a monster." A monster? "You don't -have- to be useful. I don't have to be useful. I can just live the rest of my life as a parasite, and that would make me ashamed. But compared to those poor bastards where usefulness is all that's between life and death, there is -nothing-. So, this is what it is now, little girl. You want to spare her. I want to kill her. And you are in my way. And I won't risk shooting you in the chest again." He crouches down, as he falls into the defensive stance of the Raven Guard: arms apart wide, sweeping and swinging in audicious swaying as he is ready to tumble and leap at a hair trigger. "The Honor of the Patriarch demands that I let you prepare yourself, Akame. But know this. I don't care if you defend yourself or not." That coy teenager tone rises up, in almost a teasing fashion despite the weight of what was coming down.
"You don't have to fight back, Akame."
Akame can't help but jump involuntarily with a squeak when the gunshot rings out. She fights the urge to swivel her head and check on the catgirl or to see where the bullet hole had appeared. She cringes as he yells her name at her. This was all on her now. Right or wrong she'd already crossed a line, or rather. It didn't matter if it was right or wrong BECAUSE she'd hurt him..
Eyes downcast she listens to his speech, about family and being useful and caring for the other people in his house, his comrades. Birth right and responsibility.
"You're right. I don't know."
She had no idea what it was actually like to have family, but she did know what it was to be valued by your accomplishments -- Or rather, not to be valued at all. When ordered to take up her stances the girl reaches up and straightens her glasses, fingers lingering at her temple she draws the rosy red spectacles off her face, it fans the strawberry blonde finger as she folds the pair down with and grips the pair of glasses with both her hands wrapped around a single lens.
When she opens her eyes once again, he's just a fuzzy indistinct blob. She absolutely nil intent in fighting back. She'd provoked this, provoked him. Got in his way and was heaping her tiny and petty ideals on someone who didn't believe as she did, who lived a different life. Real life wasn't a romance like the novels and manga she enjoyed. Those were all really pretty and pleasant lies, or just not for girls like her to experience. The princes never came, work was constantly challenging and draining, every day was full of new and unexpected roadblocks she was unprepared for.
Her voice piques up. She torments him with a last smile before falling silent. She wouldn't blame him if he were upset enough to kill her. She wasn't trembling in the slightest, no afraid of pain or being hurt. She just didn't want to see his face while he was doing that to her.
He doesn't come.
He twirls around, stretching one arm high, the other low, his body hugging itself with his twisted limbs. Another stance, ready to explode with power and speed. "Come on! I'm serious!" He states aloud, that voice trembling. Insecure. "I'm dead serious Akame! I'm going to pull you apart like a roast chicken! The might and speed of the Raven Guard is unbeatable! Unstoppable!" Defaulting to internal propaganda.
The sobbing stopped.
The catgirl was standing up, looking in a daze. Laughing. "Meowie Wow Wow!" She interjects. "I was scared of him, but he's more scared of you!" Jozhua hisses something in Hungarian. "Why! Why Akame! What's so special about her? She's a monster! Why are you acting like a brat!" Jozhua hops once. "Fight me! Fight me and defend yourself! She's going to run away! She's going to run away in a town and rip apart a family, and their blood will be on your hands!" Jozhua untwists himself, stretching down into a low lunging position, claws on the ground, as he falls into another stance. "So... fight me! And defend your foolish pride!" He actually nearly goes hoarse as he shouts out.
Akame doesn't move from her spot. She won't advance on him or back down. She just continues to stand there and look progressively more and more miserable. She keeps her focus in the general direction of his form and voice but not quite on target and certainly not meeting Jozhua's eyes. Her head snaps around sharply toward the catgirl with a flare up of sudden heated anger when he dared insinuate the hunter was afraid of her. Gently shaking her head in his request for justification.
There was no reason she could voice that he should listen to, nothing that would make sense that wasn't just a part of her sad little worldview. In her eyes, the Monster Hunters from her guild Monster Hunters came from people who were victimized, or lost everything they cared about. People who cared more about revenge or civic duty to make sure that never happened to others. There were plenty of other types too, but many of them sent time wistfully staring at photographs or quietly weeping when deep enough in their cups.
She didn't have any pride to defend in the first place though she does feel a lot lower with all the names she's getting called.
Akame avoid taking any steps forward not to avoid antagonising Jozhua but more to conceal the fact she can no longer see him. She didn't want him to feel worse than he did already, she was already as selfish as she could be without insulting him further and so blatantly.
"I can't justify myself. Not when I don't believe I am Just. Or right."
She rightfully didn't know. And was now terrified that maybe the cat-thing would go on to hurt someone else, make more victims after she had a slim chance of preventing that ever happening.
"I'm scared, and willing to take a chance that someone could be or do some good instead of being a monster. Because here, now, I don't want to hurt someone who is upset and crying."
That's all. Somewhere out there was a family who would miss her. Akame was no hero. But she was a romantic at heart and even if she had every reason in the world to mistrust or kill. She couldn't do it until that person deserved it.
Akame scrubs at her cheeks and holds her ground. No further showing weakness or being pathetic. That just made it harder on Jozhua.
Jozhua chokes back his rage.
It would be one thing for Akame to say why she was doing. How she was right, Jozhua was wrong. That's rational. That's reasonable. Instead, she didn't have any defense for the Raven Guardsmen to pull apart. There was nothing to harass. If Jozhua was more ruthless like his commanders, like his Patriarch, he could have just knocked her aside, and take his prize. Every guardsmen should be a reflection of the highest ranks of the House of Podiebrad.
But Jozhua wasn't.
"You're stupid!" Is all he could muster, as he falls from his stance. Strides up to Akame, jabbing a clawed finger in her chest. And even then, he looked worried, recoiling back in case he made her bleed. He tries to yell at her. "You're stupid and weak! The Hunters should have left you for dead! You're not even good for a low-self esteem lay! You're just... useless! Useless useless useless!" Jozhua kicks over his bike, knocking it off its kickstand, sending it to the ground. "You ungrateful, stupid, weak, pathetic girl!" Jozhua breaths hard within his mask. That seemed to have gotten whatever it was out of his system. He turns around.
"So what are you going to do now."
He throws his palms in the air. "Catgirl's crazy, scared, and crying. You can't let her go. And if you keep her, you're going to start getting mercs after you like me. Not nice like me." Jozhua huffs. "You're not being rational. You have to do -something-. You can't just... stand in one spot until the issue fixes itself. The catgirl's your problem now. Do you even know what her plans are?" "I am Oppaikaka!" The catgirl pipes up, bouncing. "Right Oppaikaka." Jozhua evenly states, gesturing at the catgirl.
"What is even a Kaka?"
Akame flinches with his response, hardly reacting to the clawed finger poke aside from her face turning up toward where Jozhua's would be now he was standing this close. Under the emphatic and sustained barrage of insults a faint indelible smile that simply cannot be completely erased plays across her face. She knew that all was true. For all the years of training and sixty-four missions she'd been a part of she had only ever killed one monster. And that paid well enough that she could retire, but it was her comrades that insisted she do so. She wasn't cut out for it, she should get the fuck out before she got someone better killed, Should have never been saved, never been invested in with the training, a Failure.
It was the truth, but part of the reason they said it was because none of them wanted to see her keep trying. They joked she should now retired, go back to school and live a normal girl's life. Akame wasn't suited to that; she was a failure in that as well. They said what they said to her out of love though. She was the weakest link, she had an out, a good and prosperous one.
When he kicks the bike over she lifts her glasses to a two-handed grip held clutched to her chest. Part out of worry, he was proud of that bike. He had wanted to know if she thought it was cool.
She opens the glasses and carefully don's the red spectacles once again.
"If I told you, that would me more unfair on you. I have to take responsibility for her and whatever comes of this."
If Jozhua was spurred to act, lie in wait or take any responsibility upon himself if something she did now went dreadfully wrong. That shouldn't be something she burdened him with. She does throw him a bone though; she had no intention of just releasing the creature with haphazard care and blind faith. She'd nail the little fucker into a box, with a month long load of ramen if that's what it required.
"Send her away, back to wherever her family is."
Hopefully that would be enough. Akame was going to get the-- she stares -- jiggly cat some food and hope she starts making more sense in her ramblings. And then send her back to wherever her home is. Then hope I never see her again. Not the most complex of plan's but Akame was keeping it simple and being honest.
"By whatever means necessary."
The harsh edge she had originally taken with the Kaka makes a return. Her opinions on the beast-kin hadn't really changed... beyond her mentally adding that maybe getting some clothes for sake of modesty might also be within her budget.
She really had not the foggiest of ideas what the thing was. Cat-girl obviously but the term Kaka was new to her. Perhaps her knowledge of particular monster types was lacking in this regard but she didn't know this one. Or even what Oppaikaka ... really looked like under her hood. She supposed she'd want to hide her face too if that was all she had to wear.
Akame eventually answers his statement.
"And where is her home?
Jozhua's relentless bitterness boils out, a helplessness in his tone. "Oppaikaka's home is deep underneath!" The catgirl blurts out loud. Jozhua paces back and forth, his angst stewing. "Fine." The boy's mind was spinning, revolving. Bitter at being beaten so peacefully by Akame. And he taps his claws together. An idea.
"Then lets at least make her a prisoner."
He shakes a finger towards the cat, who was stomping her feet anxiously. "A prisoner with the Raven Guard; under our consent and your eyes. No harm will come to you, I swear it!" And he draws a talon on his palm. Blood comes out. "I swear on an oath. I will not kill this catgirl; she will be a protected as a favored prisoner with the House of Podiebrad, and spared from the gladiator pit- we aren't supposed to talk about that." Jozhua's speech interrupts, as he hisses in pain, looking at his palm. "Um, please do the blood oath thing too; I'm also supposed to check with you first, because you don't have to." He falls quiet a moment.
"I might need to get stitches."
Akame responds to the emphatic blurting of relevant information and turns to the catgirl. "It-is really? Deep underneath what? Is it nearby?"
If the girl could just go home, and make it through the tightening cordon of hunters trying to contain the outbreak. Akame scowls to herself at the prospect of imprisoning the catgirl after all of this. It was the least evil of all the options presented to her and the promises meant a lot, even if some questions were definitely raised. Gladiatorial Arena?!
"I-I promised I'd feed her and she probably needs something to wear, so she doesn't draw as much attention!!
"Y-you promised no harm will come to her, and there's a chance she won't have to be in your care-!"
She flips her shit worrying and stressing as Jozhua continues to bleed freely across his own palm. She stares in shock as he takes a serious seeming oath. Suddenly solemn the dimutive pink girl starts to apologise before fumbling around in her pocket. Her blood was no joke, caustic to darkstalkers and monsters the girl was a recipient who would consume any kind or type of blood in a transfusion. She was momentarily horrified at the prospect of what her blood might do to someone else. But the occasion?
Akame reaches into a pocket and pulls out a plastic spork and open roll of bandages. The same type of binding around her wrist. Akame examines the spork, sets her thumb into the bowl potion of the utensil and pinches it tightly as she lays her free palm, the hand necessary to take Jozhua's own hand. She drives the pork through her palm, with enough force the handle cracks and small white plastic nubs of the tines emerge form the back of her hand.
The pain was appropriate to the situation. She removes the broken utensil with a sharp tug. Dumping a little of the soughtafter blood at her feet.
"My blood doesn't mix well with other people. "
She lays her injured hand on Jozhua's and holds his and weakly, a muted buzz running through her as her blood tried to absorb what it could of his. She tries to just suppress the hunger and spread in her blood. It's free to drip and fall, mix with his, but she has to reclaim it all before she poisons him or something insidious and awful happens.
Akame fumbles with the tiny bit of tape on the bandages, raising it to her lips where she tugs the opening tubular roll and pulls it taught between the fingers of her good hand and lets it fall over his palm. In a practiced manner she starts binding the would one handed like it was the easiest thing to do. Effortless working the cloth around the sharp talons.
"Maybe you should get some stitches, it'll help minimise the scarring. But there's also travelling on your motorcycle to consider."
She pats the bandage firmly with an index fingers tapping, testing how tightly she'd wound it.
"I still have to deliver on the meal I mention. Because I promised. And likewise promise to find a way to send her home. So she has no cause to cause any trouble if she gets that yummy meal and then treated to some clothes. Y-you're welcome to join us. "
It was his plan and his connections after all that the 'plan' was contingent upon. Akame didn't want to risk trying to subdue the catgirl after all this, she dangled the promised meal and new clothes as the finest bait she could manage given the circumstance.
"Oh Oh Oh!"
Oppaikaka seems -almost- ready to be helpful. That is, until she grabs her hooded head again, giving a pained meow. "Nyaaaaah! Underneath... Underneath.... Head... hurt brain think no good meow! Need meow-re food!" Suddenly she's behind Akame, and hugging her from behind, her outfit pressing against her back. "Foooood!" She says, drooling coming from her mouth when she sees the spork.
She lets go, when she sees what Akame does with the spork.
The most distressing thing was that Jozhua does -not- seem disturbed by what Akame was doing to herself. As his blood is drawn away... for a moment, Akame might feel something rattling in her. A different kind of buzzing and tingling, worming its way down to her soul. Not poisoning, but definately a language coming from the blood, a connection. As he winces his hand back, he looks at the cut.
He groans, as he looks at the disgusted catgirl and Akame. "I guess I have to come along with you. I'm now, uh, I'm now responsible for both of you, on behalf of the Raven Guard." Jozhua was not sounding so sure about. "I mean she doesn't have to get an outfit, I think her outfit is fine..." He says mincingly. The catgirl hops in place a bit, at the promise of food. The guardsman rubs the back of his neck, wincing as the cut part is touched. "I guess... I guess we can all try to get on the motorcycle then." He moves over to get it back up, giving light Hungarian curses as he sees the dent that was caused by -his- temper.
"I'm sorry about calling you names, I just get so mad."
Fixated on her injured palm, Akame stands there derpily contemplating her palm while gradually contracting her hand into a tight fist before relaxing it, repeating the motion. Over the years she'd had a lot of transfusions before but she'd never gotten a reaction like that before. Perhaps it was because it was for a still living person rather than a bag.
The slightly stricken Akame can't help but think how the costs of this endeavour keep escalating. Inviting three people to dinner and she aaaaabsolutely refused to sit with the cat in a restaurant until they got her some clothes. She was worrying just a little that all that exposed flesh might give her a complex. Not to mention what any of her neighbours might think if they saw her with these folk. A mostly naked catgirl, and masked deviant in black on a motorcycle! She shivers abruptly at the prospect of just how much gossip that would generate about her. She listen to the apology and responds by growing more awkward, swinging and kicking her foot and looking away from both the damage to the motorcycle and upset young man.
"I deserved it."
The awkward girl continues to stand a fair way away from the motorcycle, craning her neck around to examine it without actually getting any closer. She's never even been close to a motor cycle let alone ridden in one, nor in a car. How to people travel around on something that doesn't have walls and windows? Isn't it windy? Kame puts her hands on the catgirls back and pushes her forward toward the motorcycle more to make her have to get on, and hopefully show Akame how it worked. O-of course Akame already knew how it worked, she was just helping secure the prisoner... before she wound up buying them all ramen.
Log created on 18:42:36 03/21/2020 by Akame, and last modified on 21:59:50 03/31/2020.