“Boys, we’ve made history today,” the Commander of the Imperial Fourteenth Reconnaissance Unit barked proudly, “the newly commissioned portable ballista seems to do its job fairly well.” He slapped a hand against a large piece of machinery constructed from metal frames and wood that faintly resembled a giant crossbow.
“Roll it back in the stables, men!” the Commander ordered. As the machine creaked past him he stepped through the puddle of blood to inspect the fallen beast.
“…was a good soldier, he was, but I knew he was always a little too quick to kill for his own good,” La heard him saying as she jogged closer to get a look for herself, “but he’ll be remembered as a hero. I’ll make sure of that. Damn, attacking a nature spirit, can you imagine the stones that kid had? And this one’s been giving the Empire grief for years.”
“It’s a damn shame we don’t have the body to give a proper Hakian burial.” his second-in-command commented next to him.
“Out of my way!”
A girl clad in a dark, heavy cloak pushed through the crowd. She dropped to her knees before the fallen spirit, seemingly uncaring about the blood that splashed around her. The girl whipped out a long net of extremely fine, tiny black chains.
“What are you doing, girl?” asked the Commander gruffly, suspiciously eyeing the materials she pulled from her cloak. Besides the net she had also placed a small pouch, a thin bar of metal and a vial of golden fluid in front of her across the monster’s course hide.
She ignored him and cursed vehemently in a language unknown to La.
“Too late,” she murmured to herself quickly, stumbling to her feet and scooping up her materials. She dumped the vial into her pouch and flung the puch into the air, and at once steam spewed from the opening and clung to the air around it. La, the Commander, and his second-in-command all stepped back, alarmed, as she readied her net.
“You have no business here Beyondsgirl, this is imperial business.” The Commander ordered nervously, as mist closed around them.
“Do you really think you can kill a spirit, even a lesser one, just like that?” she asked irritably. She glared at him from under her sweeping black bangs. The mist swirled about them, forming ghostly shapes in the periphery. The air smelled of stale urine.
“Wait…Was that piss in there?!” asked La disbelievingly.
“My, so observant.” The girl replied bitingly. Her sharp, black eyes were focused on the bison.
“Listen missy, you can’t go slinging a bunch of piss-mist around without explaining yourself.” La berated. The girl gritted her teeth.
“It’s not just piss-mist, it’s a mixture designed to reveal, stunt, and disorient spirits severed from the body. The recipe has been passed down in my family for generations and yes, if you must know, a lot of it is made of urine, among other things. The raw humanity of the mixture is what disorients the spirit.” She observed La’s disgusted expression.
“I know it’s gross, okay?”
The huge corpse of the beast shivered, and suddenly puffed into a black mist that shot fluidly upwards. La watched, fascinated, as the mist gave way to a jittery mass of light that zig-zagged this way and that. The girl swung her net around above her head and let loose to send it flying through the air. The net clacked around the light in the air and fell victoriously to the ground.
“Yes!” The girl punched the air vigorously and rushed over, grasping the net at the edge just as it jolted to into the air.
“Shiiiiit!” the girl screamed as the thing jostled her back and forth. She dug her heels into the dirt and skidded down the road as the net struggled against her weight. Finally, at the gate it seemed to give up and hang limply at her side.
“Holy Mog-untzer, that’s never happened before.” she murmured to herself, tucking the net to her side. With the mist gone, the contents of the net appeared empty. She seemed unconcerned by this. She skipped happily through the gate before glancing behind her. “Later, slut!” she yelled back at La. She then dashed out of the gate, leaving La and a confused, distraught Commander behind.
“I don’t see how anyone’s going to believe us now.” he said, the situation slowly dawning on him.
“What the hell was that?” Raul asked La when she returned to the group. She shrugged.
“Beats me. Some bitch with a net.”
“We should keep going.” the Candy Knight suggested, gesturing towards the busted open gate. “There is precious little time.”
“For what?” La frowned. Treasure wasn’t going anywhere fast.
“Oh, right. I forgot about that.”