It was bloody business. Calvin pulled his sword free from the still quivering form of the monstrosity he had slain together with Ed and Jiranee. A long time ago, in a very different place, Calvin had once thought that this kind of thing would be simple. It's just like in the video games or D&D. No problem. In the time he had spent in actual combat, he came to realize how much of a toll it took on one's mental health. Now to have to put down this pathetic creature before him made him positively ill. As if the stress of combat wasn't enough, he'd had to deal with some horribly mutated abomination that had charged out of a nearby corridor and nearly scared the shit out of him. At his feet, the ruined form bled out on the floor. He had to wonder what it was. From what little he could discern in the d im light, it might have been a person at some point. What the hell were they doing here?

Off in the distance, the sounds of tearing metal and shattered glass caught his attention. Whatever it was, it sounded big and it was out of his field of view. He turned to the handrail and looked out at the pit below. Nothing but blackness. He searched for whatever it was in the darkness. Along the rail something moved. It was a person. It didn't seem like some big monster like the other one. It wasn't charging anyone. It just stood there. It was hard to tell in the low light but it looked like it was holding itself. Maybe trying to comfort itself? Maybe it was a prisoner or something, that had escaped? Maybe it needed help? Still clutching his sword in one hand, Calvin approached whatever it was.

As he got closer, he got a better look at it. It was a girl. One of the Hunting People, it seemed. "Hey. Are you ok? Do you need any... help?"

Oh God. What am I looking at here?

She was naked, but any sense of eroticism vanished with the realization of how emaciated and sickly she looked. Her skin wasn't the golden-tan of a healthy Hunting Person, but a pale shade of gray, while her white hair fell in unkempt strands down to her waist, veiling her bright red eyes. Calvin almost touched her, before the radiant heat from her body made him recoil. That and the quick glimpse of her hands. Hunting People had claws, yes, but not nightmarish foot-long things that looked like a mass of knives.

Even as she turned to look at him , time slowed to a crawl. The sounds of battle elsewhere distorted. Slowed down, before going silent altogether. That's when he saw it. The look of complete anguish in the eyes of the thing. Those horrible red eyes. Full of pain, they were. Whatever had happened to this Hunting Person, they sure didn't seem to like it.

After what seemed like a few minutes, (hard to count time when it doesn't move forward) Calvin shouldered the two-handed blade he'd been carrying since the raid on Fyrkat. I don't think I'd like to live like that either. He approached the motionless figure, and kissed her on the forehead. The heat from her pale flesh was intense. Calvin placed the edge of his blade at her throat and swallowed hard. This wasn't going to be pleasant. I hope this doesn't hurt for too long. Goodnight, and sleep well.

He pressed his weight into the blade and drew it across the flesh of her neck. A few drops of blood escaped and hung, frozen, in mid-air. By the time the tip of the sword made it through, he was halfway to the bone. Placing his hand on the railing, Calvin could feel a slight pressure in his chest. Time was speeding back up to normal and he suddenly felt very tired. Guess I held it too long. He leaned heavily on the rail as the Hunting girl fell to her knees, blood pouring from the wound in her neck. They doubled over together, her to the floor and him over the rail. Yup. Way too long...

When next Calvin could think clearly, he was being carried by Donovan. He couldn't make out what was going on exactly, but damn if he didn't want to just sleep right now.

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