The People\'s Lament
The two-meter ape ran after Chris as quickly as it could, with fiery anger in its eyes. The commotion woke up some other Silverback Banshees, but their cautiousness caused them to choose to stick together with the pack instead of chasing the intruder with the enraged mother.
When the danger level was unknown, their wild instinct told them it was more important to preserve the group rather than the individual, so they decided to sacrifice the single Silverback Banshee and stayed alert for any more threats to their survival.
Almost like humans… thought Chris in amusement.
Even though he was given the Blessing of Stealth, his stamina was only a little better than that of a fit adult, so Chris was almost out of breath, running while dragging the dead creature behind him. The mother was faster than him, so if not for the headstart and the confusion, the monster would have caught him.
Not long after, he finally made it to the edge of the village, in the direction where Crane and Catherine had been waiting.
”Hes here. Get ready, ” Crane warned. He sensed the strong malice emitted by the Silverback Banshee approaching them at a scary speed and got into position, ”We need our revolvers now, but we have to finish the fight and get out quickly. ”
”Running away is not an option, I take it? ” asked Catherine, making sure. She knew how vicious an angry Silverback Banshee was.
”As long as we are not faster, running is just suicide. We need to take care of it while we have the chance. If the pack knows that we are not very dangerous, they will swarm here, that is why the loud sound of the revolver will help too, ”
What Crane said was correct. The angry mother would keep chasing them as long as they had the baby, and they couldn outrun the creature.
”Other nocturnal monsters can get attracted by the gunshot sound, thats why we need to finish the battle quickly, correct? ”
”Yes, thats right. Here it comes! ”
Chris was rushing towards the duo with the dead monsters leg in his left arm. The moment he saw his siblings, he tossed the Silverback Banshees infant in their direction, drawing the enraged mother there.
The three people quickly took the position, encircling the monster while maintaining their distance. Crane also positioned Thomspon so that the candle it was carrying could give them a vision of the target at all times.
Checking her infant, the mother suddenly became more enraged upon knowing that it had already died. Her eyes became bloodshot and she bared her sharp fangs at the assailants. Without giving them time to land the first hit, she moved even quicker than before, aiming straight for Chris, on whom the scent of her infant was the strongest.
”Its moving faster than before! ” Chris exclaimed, He was barely able to react, so his left shoulder was injured by the monsters sharp claws. He stumbled, but the creature didn give him time to rest. It quickly leaped and launched another attack.
Cranes doll, Mjrn, finally reached Chriss location and protected him from the creatures subsequent attack. However, the monster was too strong, so it was thrown back easily.
”Chris, are you alright? ” shouted Crane.
”Don worry, my left side is still attached, ” answered Chris. Crane knew his brother was fine from his answer.
Catherine shot the creature. It was dark, so her aim was not super accurate. The bullet missed the Silverback Banshee, who was quick enough to dodge. However, the shot was not meant to kill the target, but rather, to make her back off and gave Chris a chance to recover.
The Silverback Banshee tried to scream again, but Chris quickly used his ability to negate it. He then pressed his hand against his injured shoulder in pain while blood seeped into his torn coat.
The creature was clearly thinking of a way out of the situation. If she tried to attack the wounded man, she would be blocked off by the doll and the bullets. Screaming to stun the target was also out of the question because of the mans strange ability. The coordination of the three was really dangerous, so she had to quickly finish one of them off.
The Banshee then decided to attack the one holding a gun, as she was the most annoying. The creature didn understand how the doll moved or who was controlling them, so she just chose an obvious target.
Catherine saw that the monster was looking at her and quickly shot at it as planned. The dolls then attacked the Banshee from the flank, forcing it to dodge.
Crane quickly took out the item that he had specifically prepared for the hunt today. It was the dried heart object the size of his palm.
From that distance, he couldn throw the object accurately, so he quickly handed it over to Martha.
The small doll ran as fast as it could with its tiny legs towards the monster, who was still busy dodging Catherines gunshots and Mjrns knife attacks. It ran past Thompson, the puppet carrying the candle that was standing in the middle of the battlefield. The monster showed no interest in the inanimate object, so it could safely act as a light source.
When it was close enough, Martha the doll threw the dried heart towards the monster, and the moment it touched the targets fur, Crane yelled:
Sigils quickly appeared under the Silverback Banshees and Cranes feet, from which illusory blood veins swarmed upwards, binding both targets. Although almost unreal, the veins were too strong to break free from.
The item Crane just used was called the Replica of Attachment. It was an artifact that would bind the target for ten seconds. However, the item would also bind the user for the same duration, and consecutive use would halve the duration on the target while doubling the bind duration on the user.
Being constrained by the illusory veins, the Silverback Banshee was taken aback and became even more furious. She tried as hard as she could to break free, but the blood veins didn even allow her to leave her position. They snared her long limbs and body, preventing her from attacking or defending.
As the creature struggled, she opened her mouth to let out a scream. However, the blood veins quickly circled around it and closed her mouth shut.
For Crane, who could move his dolls with just his fingers, being bound was not an issue. He wanted to make use of the duration as much as he could, so he quickly send his dolls toward the immobilized target.
The dolls mercilessly stabbed the Silverback Banshees legs repeatedly. They then climbed the creatures body and stabbed her torso with difficulty. Blood spurt and covered the dolls, while the creature could only look at her assailant with apparent rage in her eyes. She tried to scream again, not to stun her targets, but to call for help, but the veins prevented any such actions from happening.
Catherine, who had been missing her shots so far, had reloaded her revolver and approached the target without wasting any time. From her distance now, she would be able to easily shoot the target.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Gunshots were fired in the dark night. Each bullet struck the helpless creature, pushing her back with the impact, but the binding veins kept her in place. The metal bullets drilled holes into her skin, leaving gaping holes in her chest. If it was brighter, her heart would have been visible.
Blood came spurting out as the Silverback Banshees eyes gradually became lifeless. She couldn even let out her last cry because of the blood veins binding her mouth. Her pain and agony were all kept within herself up to her grave.
Even in death, her body was forced to stand up, bound by the malicious blood veins that wouldn let go.
Once the ten seconds were up, the blood veins retracted back and sunk into the sigils, wiping them off the surface of the sand in the process like a den of angry snakes crawling about. After that, the sigils and the veins disappeared without any traces.
Crane was finally able to move again, while the lifeless body of the Silverback Banshee fell down to the ground. The soft sand cushioned her fall and was sent flying everywhere.
”Martha, take the heart. Mjrn, Thompson, come! ” Crane commanded his dolls and puppets.
One of the dolls picked up the Replica of Attachment that was lying on the sand and after that, the tiny inanimate objects scurried quickly toward its master. Martha placed the heart on the sand near Crane while Mjrn slashed the mans index finger with his knife.
In the candle-lit night, Crane grunted in pain and let his blood slowly drip onto the dried heart. He counted the drop and stopped at exactly ten drops of blood.
It was a method of resetting the artifacts target count so that upon the next use, he would still get the full duration on both himself and the target. In a life and death situation, being bound while the enemy could break free quicker would mean death.
In the meantime, Chris and Catherine had approached the dead ape-like monster; the former skillfully harvested the creatures brain, vocal cord, and the evolved organ inside their ears while the latter helped. The light source was too far, so Catherine could only watch in the dimly-lit night.
Chris then cut open the face of the Banshee infant with his sharp dagger before cracking open its cranium. The skull structure of a Silverback Banshee was surprisingly somewhat similar to a humans, and it was softer than Chris had thought, so taking out the brain didn take long at all.
Blood flowed onto the dead creatures skin before dripping down and seeping into the sand, letting out a smell that reminded them of rust. They needed to quickly take what they needed and get out of there before the smell attracted other monsters. It would be a death sentence if multiple monsters arrived.
”Something dangerous is coming! ” warned Catherine.
Her Tier 1 increased her sensitivity to the supernatural, so she could feel presences that normal people couldn . Her sense warned her that a creature from the supernatural realm had become attracted by the smell of blood and was on approaching their location.
Heeding their sisters warning, Crane and Chris quickly finished up what they were doing; the former controlled his dolls to put the hunted creatures organs inside Thompsons backpacks. The puppet was much taller than the dolls, so they had to climb over to finish the task, while awkwardly carrying a bloody brain the size of a childs fist, a severed vocal cord, and a soft organ resembling a cushion. Chris also stuffed the mother Banshees organs inside the big backpack that the puppet was wearing.
The trio ran away from the spot, leaving the bloody carcasses lying around. If something dangerous was coming, they wanted to make sure that it came for the corpses, not for them.
”Hows your injury? ” asked Crane as they were running. He saw that his brother still had some oddity with his gait.
”It hurts so bad, but its started healing, ” he replied. After becoming a Votary, his body was no longer like that of a normal human. Besides the abilities and Blessings granted, Votaries also became more resistant to sickness and their wounds could heal faster than a normal human.
”Cath, how many bullets did you use today? ” he then turned to his sister.
”Shouldn you be asking about the dangerous creature I mentioned first? ” she protested.
”Yeah, that too, ”
”The creature is not chasing us, so it must be busy with the Banshees. As for the bullets, I lost count, but I still have around 8 more, ” she replied.
Crane sighed in relief,
e expensive as hell, so Im glad you didn use them all up. ”
”You could ask those bullets to take the ritual instead if Im dead, ” she commented.
The group kept on running until they were almost out of stamina, following Chris direction and the puppets lighting. When they were sure they were out of danger, the trio took a quick break before continuing the journey home.
”One last stop to make now, ” Crane said.
The group stopped on a spot that had a faint X mark on the sand. However, even without the mark, everyone could tell that something was buried there, as the creatures body parts were still sticking out.
Crane let go of the control of Thompson and the others before regaining control over the dead Brown Scaled Lizard. As he had channeled his spirituality into it before, he didn need to do so anymore.
With a movement of his fingers, the sand around the dead creature started shaking, before the human-sized lizard began slowly digging itself out of the crudely-made grave.
”Crane, is this really your limit? ” asked Chris curiously, ”as in, you cannot control anything else while controlling this thing? ” he was paying attention to the awkward movement of the dead lizard.
”Yes. Something this big takes a lot of my spirituality. Thats why I chose small dolls as fighters. They
e easier to control for the current me. Also, this thing used to be alive, thats the more reason why a lot of spirituality is needed to control it, ” Crane explained while maintaining focus on the dead lizards action.
Sweat began dripping on his forehead as his breathing became heavier and heavier.
”Don force it, Crane. You can take a break if you need to. Daybreak is still a few hours away from now, ” said Catherine, looking at the watch that she was wearing on her left wrist. It was a silver watch that didn look too expensive, but elegant nonetheless. The strap was made of a silver chain while the face had a beautiful carving around the dial.
”The faster we do it, the faster we can get out of here, and the job after this is yours anyway, ” Crane replied.
”Must be nice to be able to rest while we are busy dismantling the prey, ” joked Chris.
”What do you mean we? Its just you and Ill watch and help if needed, ” Catherine rebutted.
”Tsk… ” he clicked his tongue, ”Well thats fine I guess. Its better than having our treasure destroyed because of your barbaric method of dismantling it, ” Chris smiled cheekily, ”Anyway, I managed to copy the Banshees Shriek. Warn me if anything comes. I will stun it immediately. ”
”Yeah, but well get stunned too, so make sure to give a clear signal when you
e about to scream, ” Catherine reminded his brother.
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