Donic spoke for a while, and with every word he said it sounded like the Hunters did little in public those days.
“Hunters do not deal with politics, that is a task for Men who do not act when necessary.”
“A Hunter will always protect the realms of humanity, no matter their past nation or lineage.”
“A Hunter will kill with impunity, that which threatens the worlds of Men. Without Question.”
These were the first three things he said to us after he welcomed us all. He named them “Prospects”, ones who could become Hunters if we proved ourselves worthy. They were toured around the grounds, walked the bulwarks that faced the city and the sea, shown our respective quarters deep underground, but Quinn was separated from the group by Brom.
“Time for a check-up, Quinn,”Brom said as we walked from the cobbled courtyard to the medical and research building.
“We’re meeting with Cowl, chief doctor of the Hold,” Brom said with a twinge of annoyance. “She’s a right piece of work so don’t let your guard down.”
“What do you mean?” Quinn said as she walked into the infirmary. She was met with a slender black haired woman. She was smiling, devilishly.
“And you must be Quinn?” the woman said. Her voice was like smoke, or perfume. The way it played in Quinn’s ears made her fluster and hesitate in response.
“Y-yes,” Quinn said, looking to the ground.
“My, a pretty young thing aren’t you?” the woman said. “I’m Doctor Silvia Cowl.” She extended a hand with a fluid motion. “A pleasure.”
“Enough Cowl, don’t torture the girl,” Brom barked.
“Well you’re no fun, Brom,” Cowl pouted. “Fine, Quinn dear I’ll be looking you over given the...odd fashion of your medical history. I hope you’re not too bashful like your caretaker here.”
Brom grumbled, and left the room. “Just be careful with her, Doc,” he said as he closed the door behind him.
“Hmm, that man - nevermind that, get yourself undressed dear,” Cowl said.
“W-what? Now?” Quinn said playing at the buttons on her jacket.
“Yes, Doctor’s orders,” Cowl said, “I’ll be examining your body, blood, urine and pretty much anything else I can think of. So you’d better get comfortable.”
Quinn nodded, and began to undress. She wasn’t shy about being naked, it was the scars on her body. They were a long and unsightly reminder of the night she awoke. Quinn thought about wearing gloves to cover the ones on her hands. She undressed and stood as Cowl made note of each scar. The length, nature of the wound, how well healed it was, and the quantity of each scar of particular type.
“You are quite the specimen,” Cowl said, drawing her fingers down the long scar that fell in line with Quinn’s spine. The touch felt intimate, though Quinn could tell it was analytical. Still, Cowl had a nature about her, this playful curiosity. “Do you know your age or place of birth?”
“No,” Quinn said.
“Just as Brom said then,” Cowl replied quietly, writing down something on her papers. "Your scars are well healed, if not a bit morbid.”
“I know,” Quinn said shyly.
“I meant it as a compliment dear,” Cowl said, her voice almost a purr. “It makes you who you are. You may not be proud of them, but these scars are yours, no one can take that from you. Each one is proof of that.”
Cowl then drew some blood, took a urine sample, tested reflexes, skin elasticity, pupil dilation, anything else she could think of was tested. Afterward, Quinn got dressed as Cowl looked over some of the notes.
“The blood tests will be ready in about a week, though I’d be hard pressed if we didn’t find something unusual given...well,” Cowl stopped and twirled her pen. “However I’m happy to say your in good shape all things considering, a little underweight and malnourished but that will change with a more regular diet. The only odd thing is I cannot determine your age, nor any discernible ethnic qualities.”
“Meaning?” Quinn said. She’d come to a few conclusions herself, but wanted to hear what Cowl had to say.
“Meaning your a bit of a mystery,” Cowl said with a wink. She let out a sigh. “Most prospects are around twenty when they arrive and you seem a bit younger...in some places so if anyone asks just stick with the date on that Birth Certificate Brom got you. You’re 19 years old, yes?”
“Okay,” Quinn said. Like I thought...I’m...a freak.
Cowl seemed to sense the anxiety coming from Quinn. “Now come now, Miss. Quinn,” she said, tapping her on the head. “You need to get out of your own head. You are a person like anyone else, and part of being a person is learning to accept who we are. That and finding others who accept us.” Cowl brought her face in close, and smiled. Her eyes narrowing with interest. “And I like you just the way you are, dear.”
Quinn met Cowl’s eyes for but a moment before looking away. She could feel her ears growing hot with embarrassment.
“That’s all I need from you,” Cowl laughed. “You should go wash up, get settled in your dormitory, mingle with the other prospects, it’ll do you some good.”
Quinn shuffled out of the room, and down toward the girl’s Prospects Dorm. It was spacious, probably meant for some twenty odd girls, maybe thirty at most. The two sister were sitting in the common room together. The blonde, Patricia, greeted Quinn with a jubilant “Hello!”
“Hi,” Quinn said, a bit taken off guard.
“I’m Patricia, and this is my younger sister Ophelia,” Patricia said. “You’re Quinn right? Oh, that's right we met earlier!”
“Yeah,” Quinn said adjusting her collar. “Yeah, I’m Quinn.” She took a seat across from the sisters in a large blue chair.
“What brought you to be a prospect then, Quinn?” Patricia asked. “Oppie and I had a grandfather who was a Hunter, and he kind of raised us for it.”
“I guess I’m about the same,” Quinn said, not thinking. “Just bred for it I guess.”
“Huh, small world,” Ophelia chuckled. It was a dry, monotone sort of noise. “Grandad always said there were still a couple families like ours out there.”
“Wasn’t there another girl? Bastine?” Quinn said after a moment of silence. “Where is she?”
“I think she was headed to the showers,” Patricia said. “She’s so gorgeous, I curious why she became a Prospect. She could probably one of those models in those new fashion magazines or whatever? Why she’s here I’ll never know.”
“Patty can be a bit envious of other girls,” Ophelia said with a sly smile.
“Oh shut up Oppie!” Patty snapped. “I do not! Don’t go scaring away a new friend.”
“Oppie?” Quinn asked.
“Huh?” Ophelia said. “Yeah, it's...just a nickname. Ophelia can be a bit of a mouthful so Oppie is usually what people who I know call me.”
Quinn felt around with the sounds in her head. Ophelia, Oppie, Ophelia, Oppie “I guess so,” she said with a smile.
Ophelia paused for a moment. “You’re a bit of a day-dreamer, yeah?” she asked. 515Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡJIflvARAJU
Before Quinn could reply before Patricia blurted out “Don’t worry, it's kind of endearing.” She put her hands as if the wipe away what she said from the air. “I mean you’re so...mysterious I can't really get a grasp on you.”
Quinn rubbed the scars on her hands. The thin lines and the bulbous marks gave an odd texture to her skin. “You and me both…” she said under her breath.
The evening turned into night quickly as the three talked. The sisters were about a year apart, and their grandad raised them. Their parents died from a sickness when they were too young to remember them. Patricia wanted to Hunt monsters and Ophelia wanted to be like Doctor Cowl. Both seemed appropriate places for them. Patricia was bright, bright as the sun. Quinn could picture her riding down great creatures with a smile on her face, or lifting a toast as a soldier. While Ophelia seemed better suited for taking the beasts apart, finding out what made them tick so her sister could kill them better and with less risk.The complemented each other in a way that seemed natural to Quinn. 515Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡlMuIdYMBwQ
Before long, the girl named Bastine returned. She didn’t say a word to them as she walked up to her room. She made no motion towards them either, only walked by as silent as a ghost. Quinn felt intimidated by her, this cool confidence she gave off felt like a pressure on her insides. While Ophelia only pouted and shot glances at her. But soon, they all retired to their respective rooms, seeing as there were only four of them they could each have a large room for themselves. Though Patricia and Ophelia said they were sharing a room together. Quinn looked about her room, it was large enough to fit about 10 small cots inside. But there was only one, a simple soft cot near a gas radiator. There was a bag and a several bundles left near it. On them was a letter addressed to her from Brom.
I’m sorry for this, bringing you into this life. But there seems no other way of protecting you and allowing you the freedom you desire. This will not be an easy road, nor one that will not have its share of sleepless nights. But rest assured that I’ve got your back. Meet me in the courtyard tomorrow when your clock chimes, we’ll begin training you then. For now, here are clothes and a few belongings that you might need in the coming days.
I have your back if you have mine.