A Hunter Job.
After what felt like an eternity of pushing the car, the group finally arrived at Hammerhead. As soon as they stopped, Noctis and Prompto collapsed on the spot out of sheer exhaustion. Gladio was winded but thanks to his better physique, he wasn't to bad of. And since Ignis hadn't even pushed the car at all, he was completely fine. Asuka on the other hand stretched a little with a satisfied smile on her face. A smile she often got whenever she had finished a good work out. Sure pushing a car was annoying, but it was hard to argue with the work out it provided. Not every day Asuka goes through pure strength training, like Gladio did.
"Wow that sure was a nice exercise. Maybe I should add car pushing to my work out list" She commented, since she did have a list of exercises she always tried to perform when she could.
"Asuka... you might just be the biggest work out fanatic I know" Prompto said in a tired tone, no idea how his girlfriend could be so in love with work outs. Sure Prompto exercised himself, but he could never hope to keep up with Asuka in that area.
"Well, you knew what you were getting in to when you started dating me, choco boy" Asuka said with a wink.
Prompto blushed but smiled "Trust me, I am yet to find a reason to regret it. Getting tired once it a while is a small price to pay".
Asuka giggled until a female voice with a strong accent was heard "Ahhh, you two are so sweet" They looked up and saw a slender woman with short, curly blond hair and olive green eyes, judging by what she was wearing, she must be a mechanic "Hey there, y'all kept a girl waitin'! Now, which one's the prince?" Noctis stands up from behind Regalia "Aha! Hello, Your Highness. Congrats on your wedding!".
"Not hitched just yet" Noctis corrected.
"Lady Lunafreya's groom-to-be, here in Hammerhead" The woman said in pride.
"Apologies for taking so long" Ignis said.
The woman waves it of "You'd best save your apologies for Paw-paw".
"Well, that makes you…" Gladio trailed of.
"Cindy—Cid's grease-monkey granddaughter" The woman now named Cindy finished for him.
An old man who must be Cid suddenly shouts out to her "Roll 'er in while I'm still young!" Cindy's grandfather comes walking up to the Regalia "Didn't yer daddy tell ya? She's a custom classic, not some beat-up ol' clunker" He looks the car over, then looks at Noctis "Prince Noctis".
"Uh, yeah" Noctis said with a nod.
"Prince. Like they took your old man and kicked the dignity out of him" Cid said bluntly.
"What?" Noctis asked, not sure if he should feel offended or not.
"To be fair Noct. You aren't exactly what most would expect a prince to be" Asuka said jokingly.
Cid had a small smirk as he resumes inspecting the Regalia "Least one of ya'll knows what ya talking about. You got a long way to go, son. And that slack jaw's gettin' you nowhere fast. She's gonna take a while. Y'all get her in and run along".
Cid walks off, Cindy looks after him and sighs before turning back to the others "Y'all heard him! Let's get movin'. Right this way".
They move the Regalia in to the garage where it could be fixed up. All they could do now was to simply wait for the repairs to be complete. Leaving them with a lot of free time.
"And now we play the waiting game" Ignis said.
Prompto sighed at that "Never liked that game".
"Never any good at it, either" Noctis added.
"Well if you had bothered learning meditation like I suggested, you would be able to pass time a lot quicker" Asuka pointed out.
"Yeah sitting still with my legs crossed for who knows how long isn't really my style" Prompto said.
Asuka shrugged "Suit yourself. Did wonder for me whenever I am bored".
"Oh! Hey there! Prince!" Cindy called out as she walked up to Noctis "Y'all ain't never been out this way before, have ya? Go on, have a look around! This'll make sure y'all don't get lost".
Cindy hand Noctis a map that should come to good use as it gives a more detailed description of the area.
"Ya sure are a life saver, Cindy" Asuka commented, unknowingly revealing her old accent from when she used to live outside the city.
Cindy picked up on it right away "Well well. Looks like not all of ya are strangers to the outside. Say, Asuka was it? Ya from around here?".
"Not really. But I did use to live in a small town before I moved in to Insomnia" Asuka answered.
"Really? So what made Ya trade the simple life for the city life?" Cindy asked, but regretted it when she noticed Asuka's face changed.
"Well... there wasn't anywhere else I could go after..." Asuka did not finish as the memory was to painful.
"Oh... sorry I asked" Cindy said in sympathy.
"It's ok, you didn't know" Asuka said as she walked away.
She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to see Gladio give her a concerned look "You ok?".
Asuka smiled as she placed a hand on his "I'm fine bro. Just need a moment".
"If you say so. Just don't go far" Gladio said.
"I won't go any further than you can see me" Asuka answered as she walked over to a boulder and sat down with a sigh.
So many years had passed, but the memories still haunted her. Guess what she heard about childhood trauma having an effect on the rest of your life was true. She took a breath and began to meditate. It always helped her calm down, and like she said before, it was a good way to pass the time. She cleared her mind and focused on calming herself. It worked and she slowly felt herself going back to normal. She suddenly felt a tap on the shoulder, making her look up to see Gladio.
"Sorry to interrupt. But we are short on cash and Cindy gave us enough for a place to stay, but it won't last long. But she also gave us a tip that we could earn some more by going on a hunt to clear out some pests, which should please her Paw-Paw. Up for it?" He asked.
"The chance to finally get to punch something? You bet" Asuka said as she stood up. Action was also a good way for her to relax.
Gladio smiled "Figured you'd like that. Come on".
With that they rejoin the rest and heads out for the hunt. Prompto was concerned for Asuka at first but she quickly assured him she was fine now. After searching for a bit they located the pests. Reapertails. Large arthropods that thrives in dry climates. Though normally slow-moving, they can crawl through the sand with surprising swiftness and sting enemies with its barbed tail. Its venom gland shrank as its body grew, though, making its stinger relatively harmless. Still they are dangerous for anyone who can't fight back, so it's best to dispose of them before they hurt anyone.
"Looks like we've located our first targets. Ready, Noct?" Ignis asked.
"Ready as I'll ever be" Noctis answered as he summoned his sword.
Asuka smirked as she used her magic to summon her weapons. Which was a pair of arm protections and combat gloves, similar to what martial artists use. Only these where made of strong metal, which would allow her to block a sword if she needed to. She made them herself as they suited her preference for hand to hand combat.
"Alright! I haven't punched something other than practice dummies for a long time. Let's crush these buggers!" She declared.
"Self control Asuka" Ignis reminded as she held his daggers ready.
The Reapertails noticed them and with hissing sounds they rushed at them. Noctis threw his sword, which many would say was a stupid move. But those people wouldn't be aware of Noctis' magical abilities to warp to any weapon he's thrown. Using this ability, Noctis warped right in front of one of the Reapertails, catching it by complete surprise, and leaving it open for Noct to stab his blade through it's back.
"Noct another one out!" Prompto said, laughing at his own pun as he shot a Reapertail in the face, stunning it long enough for Asuka to smash her fist down on it.
"Prompto, what did I say about making puns?" Asuka reminded.
"Come on honey, you know you love them" Prompto said innocently.
Asuka rolled her eyes with a smile before grabbing the tail of a Reapertail and tossing it towards Gladio "Heads up bro!".
Gladio saw the flying Reapertail and smirked as he readied his massive blade. Once it was close enough, he swung his blade, cutting the creature clean in half, killing it instantly.
"And the crowd goes wild!" Asuka shouts before laughing a little.
Ignis finished of the last Reapertail by stabbing it's under belly before straightening himself "This isn't a game, Asuka".
"True, but it can still be fun" Asuka argued.
Ignis shook his head but didn't seem to bothered "Regardless, it was excellent work. On we go".
As they went they discovered a tilted, broken tower nearby. Prompto looked up at it "What happened here?".
"The telegraph pole's been split in two. And not just this one, either" Ignis answered.
"The hell do you think did this?" Gladio asked.
Ignis rubs his chin "Hard to say. A natural disaster, perhaps".
"You sure? Hammerhead doesn't have a scratch on it" Gladio pointed out.
"Maybe a huuuge monster came and knocked 'em down!" Prompto said in a dramatic tone.
"Don't worry Prompto, if the big bad monster shows up, I'll protect you" Asuka assured.
"Hey! I'm not afraid of monsters" Prompto said, earning a knowing smirk from Asuka "Everyone are scared of monsters when they are kids! That dosen't count!".
Asuka giggled a little "Sure sure, choco boy".
Gladio smiled a little at the teasing "Better not be the "varmint" Cindy was talking about".
As they began searching for the next group of Reapertails, Noctis could feel the heat "Man it's hot".
"Then lose the jacket" Gladio pointed out.
"Hey Asuka, how come you are not bothered by this?" Noct asked as he had noticed Asuka hadn't even once complained about the heat since they started their journey.
"Training, Noct. I always did my best to keep myself in the best shape I can be. When it's hot out, I train inside a closed and hot room while wearing thick layers of clothing. And when it's cold, I train outside in my underwear. As a result I can fight at my peek no matter the condition" Asuka answered.
"She trains in her underwear..." Prompto whispered to himself before being smacked on the head by Gladio.
"Get that mental image out of your head right now" Gladio warned, making Prompto sweat, but not because of the heat.
They continued on until they reached the next group of Reapertails. Dealing with them weren't any harder than the last ones. Sure they were quick but also predictable, and since their stingers weren't that dangerous anymore, they could be easily dealt with.
"Alright! We'll be done in no time" Prompto said in celebration.
"We could be done even quicker if you wouldn't keep on taking pictures in the middle of a fight" Ignis pointed out in mild annoyance.
"How could I not? These pictures will be a reminder of our first true battle against dangerous enemies. Things like that needs to be documented" Prompto said in all seriousness.
Asuka held up a dead Reapertail by the tail "Then can you take a picture of me with this?".
"Good thinking babe. Alright, strike a badass pose" Prompto instructed as he readied his camera. Asuka smiled before holding up he dead Reapertail and struck the pose of a hunter who had caught a big game. Prompto took the picture and smiled "Oh yeah, you look like a real badass! But who am I kidding, you always do".
Noctis chuckled "Never mind me getting married. I am surprised you two haven't gotten hitched yet".
Both Asuka and Prompto blushed at that, but Gladio decided it was time to get back on track "Come on, we still got some more pests to take care of".
"Indeed" Ignis agreed and they continued on.
While making looking for the last of the reapertails, Prompto decided to ask something "So, uh, where are we headed anyway?".
"Nowhere until the repairs are done. Then we head for Galdin Quay" Ignis answered.
"And after that, we hop a boat, and before you know it, loverboy's hitched" Gladio added.
"Wait for car repairs, then wedding bells in the air. Got it!" Prompto said.
"Well there will be a few more things to see along the way. The outside is bigger than you think" Asuka said, before the located the last of the Reapertails.
After dealing with the last of the Reapertails, and thereby completing the little mission they got. Noctis' phone began to ring, which surprised him a little.
"Who could this be?" He wondered as answered "Hello?".
"Hey, it's Cindy. How goes the huntin'?" Cindy asked on the other side of the line.
"Actually, we just finished" Noctis answered.
"That's great, 'cause I got one more hunt for ya'll—only this time it's for a person. Fella named Dave went off, and we ain't heard from him since. Reckon he staked out a spot in an old shack nearby" Cindy said.
"Old shack…" Noctis looked around and notices an old barn-like structure not far away "Got it. We'll take a look".
After Noctis hung up Prompto asked "So, what'd Cindy say?".
"Needs us to find some Dave guy" Noctis answered.
"He went missing?" Gladio asked.
Noctis shook his head "Not missing. Said he's holed up in that shack".
"Well better go check on him then" Asuka said.
"And let us hope non of the creatures got him" Ignis added.
They hurried towards the barn and began looking around. No sign of a Dave guy, but Noctis did find something. An envelope and letter laying on a cart. He walked up and read it:
Mutant Dualhorn Sighting.
Characteristics: Red tusks, extremely violent.
Outstanding bounty on sabertusks in the area.
As Noctis was reading. Asuka hummed to herself until she heard a growl. She looked up and gasped when she saw something leap towards her. Not being able to react in time, she was tackled down and the beast tried to bite her, though luckily she was able to hold it of and keep it from biting her head.
"Get of her!" Prompto shouts as he takes out his gun and shot the creature of his girlfriend "You alright Asuka?".
"I'm fine. But more are coming!" Asuka said as more creatures began swarming them. It was Sabertusks, far deadlier predators than the Reapertails.
"Noct!" Prompto shouts.
Noctis turns to see sabertusks running into the barn, one of which is heading for him. The sabertusk heading for Noct leaps at him. Noctis falls backward onto the ground as the sabertusk descends upon him. Prompto takes aim and shoots the animal down before it can reach Noct. Across the room, Gladio is holding off another sabertusk with his sword, Prompto shoots it too while Ignis body slams a third sabertusk. Asuka brings out her arm porections and combat gloves before punching another Sabertusk in the jaw, sending it flying back.
Prompto reaches down to help Noctis up "You okay?".
"We are now" Gladio said before more sabertusks come running in.
"Spoke too soon!" Ignis said as everyone got ready to fight.
Asuka kicked one of the beasts away before punched the jaw of another one. The one that was sent to the ground by her punch was soon finished of by Gladio who cut it's head of with his sword. Ignis dodged a pounce from another sabertusk before stabbing both his daggers between it's ribs. Noctis blocked a leap from another sabertusk before countering with a strike to it's face, distracting it long enough for Prompto to shoot it in the head.
Asuka huffs as one more sabertusk runs at her. She punched it down before raising her foot and brought it down hard on the creature's neck, snapping it. All her training sure paid of, if she's able to defeat monsters with little more than her martial art skills. Then again, she had the guys to help her, so she can't brag to much.
"That all of them?" She asked as she looked around.
"I believe so. But I doubt this is where Dave took refuge. This place is too open to offer any form of protection" Ignis answered.
Gladio notice of another shack nearby "Hey, what about that shack over there?".
"There are more of those beasts over there" Asuka noticed.
"Indeed, we could use a strategy to deal with them" Ignis said.
"If only we could deal with them all in one good strike" Asuka noted.
Ignis thought about what she said "I think I got it, listen well".
The sabertusks growls at the shack, making it clear someone was in there. Suddenly their attention changed when they noticed Asuka walking towards them while cracking her knuckles. They quickly began running at her, but Prompto jumped up on a boulder and began shooting at them. But his shots were just to distract them, allowing Asuka to run forward and delivered punches and kicks to the sabertusks, sending them flying in to a pile.
"Now!" Ignis shouts as he and the rest jumps out.
Charging in from all sides, Ignis, Noctis and Gladio delivered hard and fast strikes, which ended up cutting through all the sabertusks, killing them all in a single well placed attack.
"Wohoo! It worked!" Asuka cheered.
"Your plan worked Specs, good job" Noctis said.
Ignis got a small smile "Well it was a good thing those beasts were as predictable as I hoped. But the plan only worked because we all did our part, good job".
"No need to be so humble, Ignis. It was your idea, we just went along with it. This victory is on you" Asuka said as she gave Ignis a hard but friendly pat on the back, making him stumble a little and almost knocking his glasses of.
"If you say so..." Ignis said as he fixed his glasses.
"Hey, who's out there?" A man who must be Dave opens the door to the shack he's taken refuge in and steps into the doorway, which he proceeds to lean against.
"And look who's in here—the man of the hour. Dave, right? Been looking for you" Gladio said.
"Didn't mean to cause y'all any trouble. Been stuck here on account of my sprained ankle. Somethin' funny 'bout them varmints. I gave 'em hell, but couldn't finish the job. Still one mean mutt about. Y'all don't look much like hunters, but whaddaya say? Put that puppy to rest for me?" Dave asked.
"I mean, we cleared out the others. One more shouldn't be to hard" Asuka said.
"Oh, yeah. We'll take care of it" Noctis said.
"Y'all got guts, that's for sure. Lemme tell ya where I last saw him" Dave said as he showed them where to look with the help of the map.
"Way to show some spunk. Now let's get ready to kick some tail" Gladio declared.
As Noct begins to walk away from the shack, Ignis taps him on the shoulder "It would be wise to rest up before we set out".
"While I am not that tired, the sun is starting to set. And we all know walking around at night is not the smartest idea" Asuka agreed. Thanks to their car breaking down and all the running around to find and kill the pests, it took a while, and with the sun setting, it would be stupid to hunt a dangerous beast.
Notctis nodded at that "Yeah, good idea".
"In that case, let's find a spot to make camp" Ignis said and they began searching.
"The Hunters are really out in full force around here, huh?" Gladio noted.
"So, they're the new Crownsguard or something?" Prompto asked.
"Similar, though technically a civilian outfit" Ignis answered.
"They've definitely seen a lot more action than we have" Gladio admitted.
"Well, people outside the walls lives more dangerously. So they don't have much of a choice but learning how to fight" Asuka explained.
"Uh… Is it cool that we rock Crownsguard outfits?" Prompto asked.
"Be worse not to. They made 'em especially for us" Noctis answered.
"Even got a sweet insignia on 'em" Gladio said.
"And we look damn cool" Asuka said in pride.
"In the Crownsguard, your attire identifies you. So wear it with pride" Ignis said.
They arrived at a cliff which looked safe enough to make camp at. They began setting up the camp, with Gladio setting up the tent, Ignis prepared some good, Prompto got the tools while Asuka and Noctis gathered some wood to make a fire with. Everyone completed their rolls and soon enjoyed some nice food, courtesy of Ignis.
Asuka let out a satisfied sigh "That hit the spot. Thank you Ignis".
Ignis gives her a nod as he collected everyone's plates "It's getting dark, we should get ready for some sleep".
"I hear you. Been to long since my last nap" Noctis said as he stretched.
Asuka shook her head. Notcis loved taking naps whenever he could. She always thought he was pretty lazy sometimes, and wondered how skilled of a fighter he could be if spent less time sleeping and more time training. But he was the prince so there was little she could do about it. With that everyone began to get ready to sleep, Gladio, Ignis and Noctis entered the tent, but before Prompto could head in Asuka stopped him.
She kissed him on the cheek and whispered in his ear "See you in the morning".
After that she entered the tent, leaving a blushing Prompto to rub his cheek. To this day, Prompto still couldn't believe his luck. He was always very shy around girls, and never expected to get a girlfriend. And yet somehow he managed to form a relationship wth the most badass girl he had ever met. The gods must've blessed him somehow... or they took pity on him and provided a girl who wouldn't wait for him to ask her out, and instead was the one who made the move on him. Regardless of the reason, he was happy with her. Though a small part of him did question if he really deserved a girlfriend like that, he always felt like Asuka was to good for him. But she did choose him and he would do his damn best to make sure she never regrets choosing him over many other options.
With that thought in mind, Prompto smiled and entered the tent. A peaceful night before one more brawl.
And here is the second chapter. Hope you are enjoying it so far.
Tell me what you think, all reviews helps keeping the story going.