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Ava’s heart nearly flew from her chest when he was grabbed from behind. Luckily(?), it was only Levi. The fact that this relieved her was kind of alarming, but she decided not to worry about it for now. She was however glad that she was at least somewhat awake now.
The news of his assailants was just that, news. She hadn’t heard anything about anyone organizing to go to the forest. She also hadn’t heard anything about anyone going missing, which was the logical conclusion seeing as he was standing in front of her now. This could all be chalked up to her spending almost the entirety of her day at home, because back in town the association was abuzz. As she would discover later.
The woman nodded at this final comment. She took the comment seriously, as she was not accustomed to being teased and had a feeling the demon earnestly meant it behind the amused smile he always seemed to be sporting. “I will try to do something soon, I am just making sure I put enough thought into so I don’t I bumble the job.” It wasn’t a completely outlandish thought. Sure she had an advantage being the head hunter’s daughter, people generally didn’t question her, but she would be in the worst kind of trouble if she was caught. There was one other thing, "Also, could you please just call me Ava." She hated being called by her last name.
Afraid that he might try to push her into making a move sooner or worse make fun of her some more, Ava attempted to change the topic. “Didn’t you want to show me where we were going to train or something like that?” She watched as a contemplative look flashed across his face. The blonde was certain he was debating whether he would take her fairly obvious bait to move on or not.
He was closer and closer to getting what he really wanted, and this girl was all but a pawn and being forced right in the middle of it due to her lack of training. It was perfect, and Levi was excited for what was coming his way. It's like he was thirsting for bloodshed, to feel that adrenaline kick in again and for him to just release all of the pent up anger that has been held dormat for years.
He was casually walking back to his home, it was around 8:30pm when he stopped. The change in energy had gone up and it wasn't just a demon, it was a few hunters. About 3 to be exact, and they were coming his way. He grinned, eyes starting to glow in the dark forest as he listened to each step come close to him. In the matter of five minutes he was attacked and blood went everywhere. The hunters were killed off viscously. One by his hand going straight through their heart as if they were a foam piece that will easily tear. "You all must be rather stupid for trying to ambush me." He scoffed, looking at the three dead souls laying around him. He kicked one over and then continued to walk back home.
The next day came fast, and Levi was up and about to get the info he wanted to hear about how he will be wiped out the system and a huge hunt will happen. He was mostly exaggerating the idea, but it was a fun thought that pumped him up. He then saw the girl standing where he had told her to meet him. Her energy was low and she looked half dead. Which meant to wake her up with a surprise.
He quickly made his way behind her, wrapping his arm around her torso while the other held is katana to her neck. "You'd be dead right now if I were intending to kill you." He spoke. Soon releasing he sword and loosing his grip around her. "A few of your friends tired killing me last night. It seems like you still have some work to do getting me off the radar Ms. St. Claire~" he teased.
After almost managing to get her heart rate back down to a safe level, Levi’s hand on her chin had it skyrocketing again. She was obviously already scared out of her wits. Was this last round of intimidation really necessary? He obviously thought so. Almost seamlessly he went from threatening her life to making plans with her tomorrow. It was a wonder she didn’t get whiplash from all this back and forth.
As the course demon faded from view, Ava stood paralyzed for a little while longer. She was thoroughly disgusted with herself. When she could move again she headed home at a snail’s pace. All the while thinking just how she might be able to pull of what she had promised. By the end of the night she had the thin outline of a plan, but still no confidence that it would work. Unluckily enough for her, she couldn’t sleep. Therefore Ava had the entire night to think of all the things that could go wrong, both in dealing with the hunter’s association and Mundo. There was really no winning.
When the sun rose, the huntress didn’t feel like doing much of anything. And so she didn’t. She took the morning off to wallow in her exhaustion. It was well passed midday before she left her home. It gave her a couple of hours to wander her way to the designated forest without looking as though that was her intended destination. Not that anyone would question her if it had been, but she felt she couldn’t be too careful.
After all that the blonde made it without incident. She waited in the open field, just in front of the mouth of the woods. A gentle breeze blew by with the sweet smell of hay lingering on it. It was comforting even when nothing else was. Time moved slowly, she wasn’t sure if it was the relaxed nature of this place or the fact that she was dreading coming face to face with Mundo again. Probably a bit of both.
The woman was close to nodding off for the first time in over 24 hours when she heard a rustling form behind her. He had finally arrived. While saddened to be deprived of the sleep, she thought it for the best that she not be unconscious when he arrived.
Feeling Ava push against his arms he almost didn't want to let go after the last experience of her trying to attack him and run away. But as she asked to be let go, he listened and released his iron grip around her small frame. He knew he had gotten into her head just from her facial feautures and looking to the ground almost in embarrassment and defeat. That made a ball of energy fill in his chest.
Step one: Completed.
Smiling wide, he grabbed her hand and shook it as she wished. Then pulled her forward, using his other hand to lift her chin so she can look him in the eye. He then went serious "Now, don't try anything and fuck me over, angel face. Cause that will be the end of you and your way of life. I can kill you easily without killing you." He smirked, letting go of her hand and pulling away from her body. "I'll see you tomorrow evening, meet me at the edge of the woods and I'll show you were we will train. And we will also discuss other things when I see you before anything else begins." He then continued to walk back to him home, waving a hand behind him to the girl. "I'm sure you can come up with a story to get your fleas off my ass on things. Until then~" Levi chimed, chuckling as he disappeared into the forest.
Ava looked away at the mention of her father. It sounded like he basically already knew who she was. He was just toying with her. When she heard footsteps, she cursed herself for becoming complacent and dropping her guard. Her eyes shot back up to where he had been standing. His circling around her made her incredibly nervous, but not half as much as when he put his arms around her. The woman was immobilized.
“I wouldn’t do that.” She wasn’t near brave enough to admit to the association that she had run into Levi Mundo, especially now that she had waited so long. Her words barely made it passed her lips before she felt his chest on her back. If her heart hadn’t been going a million miles a minute before, it was now. Her face felt fearfully hot, it made it very hard to concentrate on anything.
It only became worse the longer he had ahold of her. Not to mention the tap on the nose. She was sure she would die of shame before she had a chance to fully hear him out. When he mentioned a bargain Ava wracked her brain for what he could possibly want from her to no avail. It wasn’t till he said it aloud that any of this made sense.
“Do I look that desperate?” It was rhetorical, as she was asking herself. The answer, however, was yes. She looked that fraught because she was. So badly she wanted, just once, to not be a disappointment. Her head hung low as she actually considered the offer.
Even if she somehow managed to delete his information from the database, everyone already knew about him. His misdeeds were common knowledge in the area. Not to mention once she gleaned what she could from him, Ava already knew where he lived. As long as he didn’t move his home base, she would still have the advantage. That and there was the distinct possibility that her decline would be met with her death. Even with all this, her tummy was in knots over what she was about to do.
Pressing against his arms, they were like steel holding her fast to him. “… Would you please let me go?” There was a moment of hesitation before she was freed. As soon as she could Ava took a step away from the fox demon. Now that there was a bit of space between then, she felt like she could breath again. Turning to face him, her eyes held fast to the ground. “I don’t know if I will be able to get into the database, but if I do you have deal.” With this said, she extended her hand out towards the man.
Levi put his hands on his hips in a less threatening way showing he didn't want to fight. But grinned as he watched how she reacted to this entire shock, he loved how humans acted. They were entertaining with the amount of emotions they put into things. It seemed more exshausting to put forward that much emotion into one thing, but humans are much different then demons in many ways.
Laughing a bit, he watched how flustered she was acting. "Cat got your tounge miss?" He teased as she finally managed to muster out her name. "Ava St. Clair, hm. It suits your looks, and is proof you are the daughter of the head hunter of the hunters society." He spoke soon walking around her, finding his way behind her, placing his forearms on her shoulders softly. Crossing his wrists with a calm demeanor as he replied to her question. "You see, I'm not satisfied because I felt I had some mercy on you for trying to attack me, and also not getting the information I needed from you you see. Why do you think I've been following you around? I need information and I also needed to make sure your cute self didnt go off and tell my place of living you see?"
He then sighed and brought her a little closer to his chest to feel her heartbeat. It was spiking up faster as he brought her closer in an embrace. "And I wanted to bargain with you." He added with a soft chuckle. "I know you're weak, and I know you want to improve. I'm very skilled at that, and I don't want to be killed by your family per say." He tapped her on the nose lightly. "I can help your swordsmanship if you promise me that my name is wiped clear out of your society's computers." He spoke, knowing that probably wouldn't be the case, but it would get him closer to killing the head of the society and taking them down.
Ava’s first instinct was to walk away, but her past experiences told her that would be a bust. Not only that, but she definitely didn’t want this guy grabbing ahold of her again. Instead she was forced to watch him obnoxiously close, drawing in all the details there were to see. Just about the first thing was his face, it was much more handsome than she had been expecting. Which was more distracting than it should have been. It made her wonder why he wore the mask at all. It wasn’t like there was much of a need with how he looked underneath. When the woman noticed her digression in thought, she became both flustered and frustrated with herself. Apparently attractive qualities were all it took to destroy her concentration.
The huntress was glad when he began speaking. It gave her something else to focus on for the time being; however what he had to say didn’t make her feel any better. How could he not be satisfied? She ran away like a dog with her tail between her legs. But before she could ask what he meant, he moved on. Now he wanted to know her name. Ava was having an internal crisis over what to do. There was no way giving him her name could lead to anything good, but she wasn’t exactly the best liar. That and she wasn’t in a position to deny his demands.
“My name is Ava…Ava St. Claire.” Her surname came out as a nearly inaudible whisper. While she hoped he hadn’t heard it, she was certain her did. “And what do you mean you weren’t satisfied with our last meeting?” Ava had mentally bookmarked that and was not ready to let it slide. She was truly and honestly curious, although there was some mortification mixed in as well.
[b "Aye! Levi! Long time to see my man. Here's some extra goods for you for this week. I don't understand how you've made it past all these hunters lately man, but it's good to see you're still alive."] Spoke the worker from the small resultant in the Ally as he handed the small fox a bag of food to stock. Levi grabbed it with his mouth, flicked his tail and darted off back home, soon forming back into his human state, carrying about 3 more bags in his hands
A few days went by and he carried on the same routine, he finds the girl, plays with her mind a little bit and then goes about his initial run for food. [i She's taking quite some time to figure me out. How amusing."] he thought. Later on that evening, he went out again planning to get closer to her. To see if she's going to finally notice he has been around her the past while, learning about who she is and how she does things.
Sniffing the air out of the enterance of the forest, he pin pointed her location, and ran. Following for a while before making a decided move. He then watched as she stopped for a moment looking around as if she's looking for someone or something, perhaps even him. Levi then ran towards her, barely touching her leg as he sprinted ahead, turning swiftly letting dust blow up as he looked at her reaction. [i "Finally."] he grunted and looked at her eyes. Seeing the fear sprout up in them when she realized this little fox was none the less a demon.
He then looked around noting the coast was clear and then turned back into his human form. His mask was left at home, so his full face was showing. And what was shown was a large smile out of pure amusement. "You see. I've been thinking about our last encounter, and I don't feel satisfied by the ending." He spoke, lifting a hand in animation to his words. "I also never managed to get your pretty little name, huntress. It's only polite." He added grinning, showing his ivory teeth.
Spotting a fox this far into town was odd to say the least, especially one so unafraid of people. Ava found it suspicious, but after her first mishap blindly following anything mildly strange she was hesitant to do so again. The furry creature darted about playfully, until knocking a man off balance. The woman held back a chuckle, for some reason she found the obesity of it funny. Directly after that the fox ran from her sight and she thought that would be the end it. However that was not the case.
While the huntress was curious as to exactly what was going on she knew there were only three possible answers. The canine was an errant familiar, a demon, or the gutsiest regular old fox she had ever seen. If the first or last were the case there wasn’t much for her to do other than let the association know he was being mischievous, however if it was the second option she would need to exterminate the thing. But seeing as the creature never came close enough for her to be able to sense its true nature Ava couldn’t be sure either way. And for this she was glad. She had a soft spot for foxes.
The blonde began keeping an eye out for the golden fellow. Whenever he didn’t appear for a while, she would begin to worry, but he always popped up again eventually. She was almost making a game of it now that she had become more accustom to being a huntress. At least she didn’t get half as nervous when the small fry reared their ugly heads.
One fateful day the charm was broken as she walked along the outskirts of town. People were few and far between and the sun was low in the sky. It would have been a pretty picture if someone were to paint it. From the corner of her eye, Ava saw a dart of light yellow and smiled. Her gaze followed along as it sporadically moved about. Bounding about the fox jet passed her. Nearly grazing her leg and she was floored with the same sickeningly ominous presence she had faced in the woods. Frozen where she stood, the huntress was filled with trepidation unlike anything she’d felt before. He had been watching her? The fear quickly melded with embarrassment. There were so many stupid things she had done over the passed several weeks. From tripping over herself chasing demons to clotheslining herself on a tree branch because she wasn’t paying enough attention. She was mortified that enemy number one might have seen any of that.
The next week went typical for Levi and his companion Casper. Levi would go into the city disguised as a fox to pick up extra food or cash he could manage to get. While Casper would keep watch on the area for any sightings or to pick up any extra information the neighboring demons would bring to him. Since this last interaction tensions have been high and left people on alert.
"I'll be back, Casper. Down burn the place down while I'm out." Called Levi, as he jogged out the door turning into the small fox as his second form. He then made his way through the dense forest and found his way to a park opening. [i "Now to see what I can find out today.."] he thought to himself, looking up at the parks clock reading it was 2pm. Plenty of time to do some searching and forging for some extra things.
He then made his way out of the park keeping his eyes and ears out for any hunter or huntress that may be on patrol or could possibly spot him for his true self. [i "Wait a minute.."] he sniffed the air ears twitching as he looked around. [i "Aha! There. I thought I could sense a familiar presence."] He chuckled internally as he watched the blonde haired huntress he recently met going about her buisiness. Still seeming as stressed as he remembered. He sat down letting his tail wag from side to side slowly, contimlating on toying with her.
He decided, getting up he watched other people around her, seeing who she was focused on and how she reacted to certain things. Deciding to leave it alone was best at the time, but making her more curious of things did seem as a better idea, so he ran his way towards someone near her, weaved in between their feet as they walked just to knock the persons balance off. He then made a run for it heading down a few empty allies between businesses where he can pick up some extra food that was sat out specially for him. The workers were also demons in disguise, hoping to make a living in the real world.
For a few moments Ava stood in silent disbelief. Somehow that had worked even better than she could have dreamed. The fact that she was hopelessly lost didn’t faze her. There was only relief that she would keep her life a little longer. Taking a chance and listening to the demon about initially going the wrong way, the huntress picked another direction to head off into. All the time she checked over her shoulder, just in case he had a change of heart.
It took a while, but she finally made it to freedom. Stepping out of the darkness, it felt like a weight was lifted from her shoulders. She made a beeline for home. There she was able to comfortably rerun over the unfortunate happenings. Once she felt like they had been cemented in her mind, Ava needed to decide her next course of action. The wisest thing to do would be to inform the Hunter’s Association, however this meant relaying in detail her cowardice. Normally that would be fine. One of the first rules you learned at the academy was to preserve life, whether that be your own or others, however her father had other thoughts on the matter. With all certainty she knew the man would rather see her made a martyr than blotch the St. Claire name with her weakness. In the end, she decided to stay quiet on the matter. If that forest was as notorious as Mundo claimed then a more formal investigation would already be under way, or at the very least come about in the near future.
The next week of Ava’s life was hectic. Between receiving congratulations on finally obtaining her huntress’ license and actually going out on patrols she felt exhausted. But even though she was obscenely busy, the thought of the demon out in the woods never fully left her mind. She wasn’t sure if it was guilt or if she was just that terrified of the guy. Either way it was stressing her out.
Levi lifted his head some, watching as this girl purposely opened herself to any attack it seemed. His companion came to his side with his mouth wide open in shock on the situation. He looked up to Levi to see how he'd respond. Typically Levi wasn't one to give mercy after attacked, and would kill on the spot. He wasn't moving though, not even an inch.
Levi pushed his eyebrows together listening as she spoke asking for peace rather than a fight because she knew she'd be dead. He then changed his posture, and placed his katana back in the sheath, crossing his arms. "You're a confusing girl." He spoke with a small laugh watching how she stood strong for herself. "I can see the huntress in you, just not all the way yet. I know I'll be seeing you again, love." He spoke and then turned around back to his home.
Casper stood in shock looking back and forth between the two, but then frantically picked up the pace to Levi. [b "W-wait up!!!"] he yelled almost tripping over his short legs.
"Don't ask me why I did that, because I have an idea." Levi spoke looking straight ahead watching the darkness swallow the forest. [b "Can I ask what plan you have, sir?"] Casper asked nervously. "You know, I've been in hiding enough. I'm hungry for something thrilling, and this girl is the key to it. It's possible she's the key to taking down some of these hunters. And I can get my hands a little dirty in the process." He spoke with a grin pulling at his lips in pure amusement. "I've lived a long life, so what if I die in the process. I'll be taking down many people along with me."
[b "Oh no.."]
Lucky was right. Ava was desperately trying to remember her training, but it wasn’t coming to her. She was sure they had gone over this sort of thing. Perhaps she should have paid a little more attention, but somewhere deep in her heart she really had thought she was going to be able to worm her way out of becoming a huntress. She had been a fool.
There were very few names he could have said that would actually make the woman any more terrified than she already was. Levi Mundo was at the top of the list. Her body tensed. Ava wanted to cry, but it would only blur her vision so she held it in. The feeling of despair was as strong as it could be. Not even when an orc barreled in did she feel worse. She just listened to them speak to one another until Mundo’s attention was back to her.
She wasn’t sure how he could make a joke like that right now, or even laugh with how thick the air was with tension. However, it gave her a little more time and she worked better under pressure.
“I am not particularly prideful…” The huntress’ mouth felt as though it was full of cotton. She swallowed, but it did not help. “I just want to get out of here and I know that won’t happen if I fight you.” She dispelled her weapon as a show of good faith, although Ava remained vigilant. If he moved an inch closer to her she was prepared to throw up a barrier of her aura. The act consumed much more of her energy than her sword, but it was a wonderful failsafe for situations such as this. “So, if it is still up on the board, I would like to leave you in peace.”
Silence hung on the wind; it was so unnatural that even though the breeze was warm, she shivered.
"And the truth comes out."
Feeling satisfied with the girls reply he wanted to see what else he could really get out of her. But before he could managed he watched as she was focused on something, seemed to be planning a way of escape or just trying to figure out how to kill him maybe. He couldn't fully read what was going on in her head but it was clearly a lot of thinking. That's when it happened.
A swing of a sword almost amputating his hand that held her still. "Shit." He pushed himself backwards whilst using that extra energy to shove the girl back as she jumped away to be freed. "It's clear you really don't know where you're going, considering you were heading deeper into the woods rather than further away from them." He spoke to her, inspecting his arm and hand for any damage. Nothing that he could see but a small knick on his sleeve. "Lucky shot, but you still have some practicing on that weapon I see." He spoke with a side grin. "You see, I was just looking for a real answer on why you're here. But now I see you're a huntress which raises more questions." Levi spoke with a shrug, playful emotions across his face.
"And you also provoked me, so that means I have to retaliate. And you clearly aren't aware of who I am so I must tell you that as well. I'm Levi Mundo, a very special and known demon in your society dear. I'm honestly shocked you haven't been told about me. Your family has been trying to kill me for [i years] now." He spoke to her, reaching in his jacket throw over, unshceathing a katana of his own. It had a bright crimson color to it, with a few black accents dancing across the blade. He held it at a stance ready to pounce, waiting to see her next move. "Now, we can either fight here or you can leave me to my peace. But you did just try to cut me so I'm not sure if I want you to just walk off with that sense of pride." He snapped, eyebrow almost twitching with annoyance.
[b "SIR!!"] Came yelling out the orc from behind in terror and panic. [b "I could sense the essence and I became frantic!! What's going on?!"] Casper flailed from a distance looking very scared of Ava. "Don't worry about it, I've got this handled. You see here, this girl is the new huntress I believe to mentioned to me about. I can see she's new from her movements." He replied, while keeping his eyes locked on the small blonde. "Almost a shame really, she's kinda cute, but that's how is always seems to work." Levi spoke with a taunting laugh. Keeping his 6'1 posture straight and on alert.
Ava sighed. “Well, can you blame me for trying?” Her words were soft. At least it distracted him a little bit, and now he seemed to be underestimating her. While she didn’t excel in combat by any means, at least she had that single advantage.
It was difficult to speak with his piercing eyes burrowing into her own, but she ked his gaze. “I don’t know anything about this forest. I was passing by when I saw something and went to investigate. Then I got lost.” Her face heated up. It was embarrassing to admit. She still wasn’t sure which way was out, even now. The woman was supposed to be a full-fledged huntress, but she couldn’t even keep a decent sense of direction in the woods.
Apprehension stayed strong in her stomach. The man had said there was a chance that she might be let go, but there was no way it was true. Still, she couldn’t help but hope it would be. Determined to survive, she waited out for the right moment and soon it appeared.
An air of amusement touched the demon’s eyes His lips parted, as he was about say something undoubtedly snarky, and Ava as fast as she could manage evoked her weapon. Her swing was swift and compact coming at the forearm of his hand that held her fast. Just as she suspected, he was quicker than her. The man released her, and as soon as she was freed, Ava jumped back, putting a couple yards between the pair.
In a defensive stance, Ava’s dread filled gaze kept on the stranger. The silver light of her blade reflected in her mirror like eyes as she strained to come up with what to do next.
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