An entry for Superpower Review Group Stories
|An Encounter with a Hunter
Thank You Nixie for the beautiful awardicon that adorns this piece
In our meeting with the Overwatch members we came to know about the Others and the Hunters. I was glad to hear that AL had destroyed all the hunters but then A E Willcox dropped the bomb. All the female hunters had left offspring.
“Wonderful,” I thought.
Sum1 was right. We needed a plan, not only did we have to protect ourselves, but as Madam Quantum said we are bound to protect the Others too.
Soh ~ Luminousa spoke from behind, “they are kids, I mean babies, right? It will take time for them to grow, right?”
“We don’t know,” Thankful Sonali said. “Growth varies from species to species.”
“And,” I said. “as Nixie pointed out, they come in many forms and from other planets in this system.”
“Oh dear,” Lilli ☕️ exclaimed from behind. “What do we do?”
“We design our defense strategy,” I said. “and the first step is information gathering.”
“Agreed,” Overwatch eyestar~ said. “We’ll form a group or few groups and head out. We’ll explore the land and the forest around the tower. If we find anything we report back.”
“Excellent idea,” Overwatch Maryann seemed relieved. “I’ll take Lornda Shadow Flame and Tiggy and eyestar~ can take Nixie …”
“That’s not a good idea,” Choconut politely interfered.
“Why?” Lornda enquired.
“All of you can’t go out,” Choconut said. In despair she transformed into a sparrow and started flying above evryone's heads inside the dining hall until Maryann, using her superpowers, calmed her down.
“I agree with Purple Panther,” I said and raised my hand as others started to speak. “We are going into the unknown, unaware of the dangers outside.”
“Right,” Maryann said. “That’s why we wanted to go.”
“I beg to differ,” I said and stepped out. “This is the most initial stage and you and other Overwatch members can’t risk yourselves being in the open without the least knowledge of the Hunters.”
“Right,” ~ Aqua ~ nodded. “Let the Galactic Guardians do the scouting. We all have super powers and we’ll look after on another. Besides, eyestar~ can watch over us.”
“But it would be dangerous,” Tiggy protested.
“We know,” kerrimiller smiled. “But as long as we are together, we would be safe. Heaven forbids, if we need to counter these Hunters, we would need some good defenses around the tower too. We don’t want any harm done to AL.”
“And don’t ask me why,” I said scratching the back of my head. “I have a feeling we might need some sort of space-crafts later. The Hunters do come from space.”
“It sounds good,” Thankful Sonali, the Magnetic Minerva nodded. “We can do it.”
After the collective agreement from the Galactic Guardians, Overwatch Maryann, reluctantly, gave her consent.
Four teams were made with two Galactic Guardians in each and were sent out in four directions. I was teamed with Choconut. She's is a shape shifter and had the ability to travel anywhere without effort.
We went north.
For three miles from our Tower the land remained barren and lifeless. We walked with quick paces aiming to get to the forest as soon as possible. The more we stay out of sight the better. We are yet not ready to deal with the Hunters.
After about three hours we reached the border of the unnamed forest.
It was dense and dark and looked impenetrable. Choconut stepped forward trying get a glimpse inside.
“Can you see anything?” I asked from where I was.
She shook her head. The trees were so close that one would have to squeeze through the gap between them. The trunks were dark
almost black. The leaves were green tending to blue.
“Maybe I can take a look from above,” I suggested.
“Okay,” she nodded her head still looking at the forest. “Be quick please.”
I lifted myself up above the top of the trees and looked about myself. The forest seemed endless. The trees were of same size and of same heaviness and concentration. On my left the Sentinel Tower AL stood tall.
I looked up. The sky was purple with no clouds in sight. I couldn’t see other guardians from that distance.
The wind was soft and cool and smelled sweet. The tree tops rustled making a strange sound. Breathing in the cool air I turned towards the sky.
The whip came crashing down without warning. I screamed and fell like a shooting star. I had lost my concentration and couldn’t take to flight. The forest rushed up to engulf me. I wrapped my arms around me activating my shield. It prevented my bones from breaking but didn’t stop my fall as I continued to crash through the trees. I was sure that I would be dead when suddenly the speed of my descend slowed and I felt being wrapped in something soft.
When I opened my eyes I found myself in the arms of a giant polar bear. My arms stiffed in fear. But the bear carefully lowered me on the ground. I took a few steps back just in case the bear changes its mind when it grew smaller in size and transformed into a human being.
“That was radical, Purple,” I clapped her shoulder while she checked herself to make sure that she was a human again.
“Thank you,” she smiled back. “I think I am getting the hang of this. What happened up there?”
I looked up and met with the thick canopy of the branches and leaves. “I am not sure but I think I met a Hunter.”
“What?” her voice squeaked.
“It’s a male and he has a whip in one hand and long green hair.”
“What was he doing there?”
“I don’t know. Let’s look ahead.”
With difficulty we traversed through the forest. There were no animals to be seen. I wondered if there were any. If there were, they weren’t advertising themselves.
After walking for about a mile we came to an opening. The center of the opening was given up to some shell like structures that looked like nests.
Carefully we crawled to the other side keeping ourselves in the dark.
Both Choconut and I gasped on seeing what was in front of us.
Various curious looking creatures, mostly in human form, were moving about the place.
“What's this?” I asked.
“The offspring left by the female Hunters,” Choconut said. “Look.”
I followed her pointing finger and shuddered. The babies were already, on an average, three feet tall, walking, communicating and practicing their superpowers.
“Good heavens! Purple,” I exclaimed under my breath. “This is a nursery.”
“But they were just born!” Choconut said looking at the young Hunters burn, sizzle and fly.
“Remember what Thankful Sonali said? Different species have different growth rates. And…”
Something flew above our heads.
“The male Hunter,” Choconut whispered. “What's he doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I asked moving deeper into the shadows. “Protecting and guarding the babies.”
Choconut looked at me, I looked at her and we both had the same thought.
“Let’s report,” she said and we had only turned when a ball of fire crashed in front of us. It penetrated the canopy burning the leaves and the branches, creating a chimney among the trees.
I put up my shield over our heads.
Another ball of fire crashed right overhead.
For the first time I realized what an anvil feels like when a blacksmith hammers over it.
“Are you alright?” Choconut asked.
I shook my head to clear off the daze and nodded. With her help I stood up.
“We gotta run,” I said. “Turn yourself into a bird or a bee if you can. Fly till the edge of the forest and keep to the shadows. I’ll put my shield around you but I don’t know how far I can mange.”
“No problem. I’ll be safe. What about you?”
“I’ll be right behind you,” I said and went up the chimney. This time I stayed alert and put my shield on.
Climbing till the threshold of the opening I peeped around. There was no sign of the Hunter. May be he was hiding. There was absolute stillness around me. The wind was gone. The trees stood quiet as if in fear. The leaves weren’t rustling anymore. I inched my way up out of the hole. The forest roof fell back and I could see the Tower.
I caught a flash from the corner of my eyes. In an instant the whip cracked and that too near my head. It took me a fraction of a second to react and it missed me as I flew away into open air.
Now we stood face to face.
He was huge to begin with. His muscular arms looked like branches from the trees below. He could have been a human if not for the bat like wings under his arms. He slapped the whip in the air and smiled revealing a pair of fangs.
Gradually I started to float towards the edge of the forest, with the Hunter following me all the time. Not for once did I take my eyes off him.
Once over the edge of the forest, I turned and dived. The whip slashed the air behind me. I was going to call for Choconut when the Hunter screamed. I stopped and turned. A huge Condor swept by him scratching his arm.
“Go Purple go,” I cheered. She about-turned and came back like a bullet.
The Hunter raised his whip.
In between my fingers, at the center of the palm a golden ball grew looking like a miniature star.
Choconut was closing in fast. The Hunter brought down his whip but it crashed on a golden ball and spun out of his hand melting in thin air. Taking the advantage Choconut slashed his shoulder.
The Hunter, in agony and anger, lifted himself higher.
Choconut came and circled overhead. I readied another ball, a super-heated blue one.
The Hunter, owing to his newly achieved wounds and the loss of his weapon kept his distance. He growled and then with a snap of his fingers turned into a flicker that shot up and disappeared into the sky.
“Is he gone?” Choconut asked still circling above my head.
“I hope so,” I said extinguishing the ball. “Let's go home.”
"Oh, we have a hell lot to report," she said joining me on our way home.
As we headed back home, I took a glance at the spotless purple sky. Who would believe that such beautiful place could host such dangerous creatures?