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Chapter 5: Understanding another's burden
"First blood!" Echoed the all too familiar disembodied summoner's voice. As natural as it has become, the eerie tone was still uncomfortable.
It did not help ease her nerves knowing she was to act as the hyper carry of her team. Even with the League's limitations on what she could do on the Fields of Justice; she still had confidence in her abilities. The uncomfortable, eerie voice was proof of that.
Personally, Nidalee would wager the voice to be from a deity of fate or irony. As she flashed an uneasy smile to her lane partner, and support, those thoughts were only reinforced.
"Now! Throw another javelin!" Her partner said, his bola only just hitting its mark, slowing the fleeing enemy.
She threw her javelin, and already knew the outcome before the voice sounded again. "I know, I know." She said, watching her weapon fly through the air. When she heard the thud of her weapon hitting the enemy, she held her arm up, catching the javelin just as it appeared.
"Double kill!" The voice called out. There were two other kills about the same time, but she was the one who attained the first blood, along with the bonus gold it came with. Sadly, there was little glory in these kills for her and, she suspected, the rest of her team.
"Rengar!" She called out. The beast hunter flicked his hand, indicating he was listening as he fought off the enemy minions. "How's the wound?" She asked, waiting as she was commanded. Her summoner, it seemed, either wanted to last hit, as it was called, or had other plans.
Rengar roared as he slashed a minion in two, its top fall joining its bottom on the ground before disappearing in a mist of magic. "It's just another scar, better on my side than my other eye." He joked, appearing to have a good time with each brutal strike or savage kill. Ruthless but efficient.
She smiled inwardly, but did not say anything. She was glad to see him well, better than last time. She did not even notice at the time, but the wound must have been painful as his movements were much more fluid.
"Elise tells me you are scheming with Teemo. Something about mushrooms." He said questioned. He ran toward the brush, joining her inside it to await the return of adversaries. When he did, he grabbed her by the throat, a warning look in his eyes. "What have you and the little coward planned?" He growled.
A sudden gasp escape her as his fingers wrapped around her throat, feeling herself become free of some of her own weight. Nidalee felt a bead of sweat run down the side of her face when he spoke of Teemo's mushrooms. Her heart was pounding in her chest. She finally found her voice. "I was going to wait until our meeting, but now is as good a time as any." She said. She looked down with her eyes, lightly tapping her foot against his leg. "My summoner wants me to move." She said.
Reluctantly, and with a warning growl, he let her go. She sprinted toward the end of the brush line, and then threw out a trap. "About our challenge, I fear it will not be the hunt you expect." She began. "Lethal force cannot be allowed. If it is, and I win, the League will take me into custody and I will be unable to defend my family and home." She said.
She would have said more, but her summoner urged her into a fight. Rengar's did the same. While he took the lead, she supported with her ranged javelin tosses and healing surge. "Obviously." She continued to speak as the fight went on. "If I lose, I'll be dead and unable to even wait out my sentence." She said.
Furiously, he struck at their foes, blocking their attacks and drawing their attention. "Non-lethal force? Is that what saved your life the other day?" He asked, nearly avoiding a blow and counter-attacking with ferocity empowered attack.
"It was my desire to live, but you were the one who tried to kill me." She said, grunting as she lobbed a long-range javelin out of her sight range. She let out a breath at the reassuring thud that followed. "It was self-defense, not a desire to kill!" She said, breathing heavily. A quick surge of magic reenergized her.
Rengar let out a hearty laugh. "Exactly! There is no greater thrill than one where life and death touch! If it's a hunt, all the better!" He said, tossing a bola as he closed in, then unleashed an earsplitting battle roar. A quick stab secured the kill.
Nidalee, guided by her summoner, returned to the brush. "This is different: I'll know what is at stake, and will have agreed to it willingly." She replied. The blue light of the recall spell encircled her, her summoner calling her back to the base.
Before she left, she saw Rengar bite the cork off one of his potions. "I want to know about those mushrooms before this battle ends." He demanded after spitting the cork out of his mouth and drinking the red liquid. She was gone before he finished. He threw the bottle to the ground, glass shattering and rebounding on the ground as it sparkled and vanished.
"A lose either way..." He muttered to himself. Looking to the sky, he saw the moon nearly full. "Still time to think it over, at least." He said, then turned to move as his summoner commanded.
When Nidalee returned, she was looking quite annoyed, the knuckles of her right hand white and a scowl on her face. She was pissed, probably at what he had said before. "Where did you find the spider?" She asked.
Rengar, not expecting this, scared his head with a single claw, still holding his knife. "Near the end of the jungle. You two have a past?" He asked.
"She's tried to kill me, intentionally one several occasions." She said. She held up her left hand, bidding his silence before she continued. "That bug has watched to make sure it was me before attacking, not another person or cougar. It's come to the point I must patrol the jungle now and again to make sure she is not intruding." She added.
The hunter nodded his understanding, then turned back to the task commanded and retreated into the brush. Nidalee moved toward the brush, but did not enter. "What reason does this insect have to take your life?" He asked.
Nidalee shook her head, a sad frown diminishing her features slightly. "I do not know. All I know is that she wants me dead. We've not spoken enough words to reach that kind of understanding."
Rengar pounced on his target, letting out a roar before throwing an immobilizing bola. Both of them, plus a few of the caster minions, secured the kill. "Really? Good thing I wanted to talk to you before stalking you. Otherwise, you wouldn't have lasted a minute." He said quickly, charging toward the next foe.
Finally, at level six, she assumed her cougar form. With her new abilities came the oh-so great feeling of attuning with nature she so enjoyed. She pounced toward her target, swiped the area in front of her, then took down her enemy by going for its throat.
After, she returned to her human form, granting Rengar her feral surge to heal him before tossing out a trap in the lake brush. "You've spoken to Elise. What did she tell you?" She questioned.
This time, both of their summoners wanted them to return to base. "Teemo gave you mushrooms to slow me so you could deliver the final blow. She then offered me-" The teleport came and both were in the fountain of their team's base. He regained his footing, then continued. "She offered me spiders that would do the same to you, only these could kill you if they bit too often or at the right place." He informed her.
As their summoners chose what items they would be using, Nidalee took the satchel of mushrooms from her belt, looking at it as she spoke. "These are to keep you from killing me, not to aid me in killing you. If you want to believe differently, fine." She said, fire burning in her speech and eyes.
Rengar studied her eyes and the determination behind those sharp, yellow orbs. Finally, he spoke, his words resounding with his own fire. A fanged smile came to his features. "You'll forgive me if I do not trust you." He said, spinning a blade in his hand before sliding it into its sheath.
The battle finally ended after twenty minutes. Nidalee stretched her sore arms, pain throbbing throughout her right arm and both legs. Except for travel, the summoner was more interested in her ranged damage and healing than her melee abilities. Rengar, on the other hand, had been a dominating force, charging into the enemy equip like a one-man army to not only take the damage but deal it back.
As she was about to return to her team's base to leave, Rengar caught her by the arm, silently urging her to stay and talk. She did so, but only because she knew there was a summoner still watching.
The two went toward the river to talk. Nidalee placed her spear into the ground and removed her boots, then put her feet into the cool waters at the bottom of the small cliff. "Do you believe her?" She asked.
Rengar, who sat not far from her on the cliff's highest point, shook his head. "The only thing I believe of that spider is that her poison can kill. Aside from that, her being from the Shadow Isles is questionable at best, twisted at worst." He said, fury clear in his tone.
She felt a little better about that, but not by much. He had failed to answer her question. "Then you know I would not try an underhanded trick?" She asked.
He nodded. "You've proven you won't lie by admitting who your ally is and what he has given you. I believe you, but not completely." He said. He reached to his left and pulled long piece of brush out by its roots, then tore off little bits of it.
Nidalee canted her head to the side to look at him, leaning backward and using her arms to support herself. She offered him a true smile of gratitude. "Thank you, for believing me and not her at least." Venom was the last thing she had to worry about. Poison she could cure, but venom was a matter of one's resistance. "Did she offer you anything?" She had to ask.
"No. She only told me about your meeting with Teemo and his gift." He replied.
As he stood and turned away, Nidalee called to him. He stopped, seeing an all too familiar look in her eyes when he turned back to her. "You crack your neck when you lie." She noted. "I was honest with you, it's your turn to be honest with me." She said, looking at him with those eyes that had so captivated him. In those eyes, he saw her as a huntress, a predator, and one who would risk her life to get at her prey. It was almost like looking into a mirror.
Rengar turned his back to her. "That is the truth." He growled. With that, he began walking once more, leaving her there.
After a few minutes, she left the field as well.
As he walked away, Rengar turned his head when he heard the strange magical energies flare up once more, then looked forward once more. He was out of sight before she fully materialized into the building. He did not feel like engaging in more conversation at the moment. With her or anyone else.
Where he was heading was the perfect place: The private courtyard, reserved only for the champions of the League.
Normally, this was where one could find individuals such as Maokai and Malphite. Today, under the chill of winter, there was no sign of either. Trees, their leaves having changed to different colors with some beginning to fall off, were fruit trees. To the side lay a large table, folded up and leaned against the wall, with chairs stacked neatly beside it, awaiting use. He recalled, one warmer days, hearing talk of tea parties hosted by the child Annie. Even if there were not enough chairs for all those attending, one could be seated on the fountain at the center.
He stepped toward the hand-carved, smooth stone decoration and peered inside. Fish had once swum in the clear waters, but, with the weather, they had been removed. The fountain once shot up water, however one of the other champions had broken it the previous week, so he heard, and repairs were to be conducted within the month. Snowdown, he believed it was called, was a bigger concern for the Summoners of the Institution of War and League of Legends. Until it was fixed, water would run from the remains of the statue's feet, flowing over the edge and back into the large bowl below it.
Rengar dipped his hands into the water and splashed the cold water over his face and mane, then shook it off much like a dog would. After, he went toward the closest tree, a mostly red and orange leaf apple tree, and leaned against its chilly bark. His arms crossed over his chest as he took a deep breath of the air, then it would a warm fog from his mouth. What the spider said was true, though she lied about Nidalee's true nature, even showed him the proof. Had he not spoken to the huntress when he did, would he have jumped to conclusions and believed Elise?
He hooked a thumb to his belt, searching for something, and brought up a small glass bottle. Inside, two spiders, Elise's, crawled around within. It was evident they were magical, created for the purpose of being weapons, but their movements were completely natural. The only thing that gave them away as magical was the piercing red eye both had. It made him feel like he was being watched whenever one of those turned in his direction.
Placing the contained weapons back into his belt, he closed his eyes as he slouched down, his back scratching against the tree bark, before he felt the ground. He crossed his legs so as to be more comfortable. Maybe he should go ask someone with more experience than he as to matters such as this? But who? Perhaps, one of the northern lands of Frejor would be of help. Tryndamere, having sparred with both Ashe and Sejuani in matters of battle, honor, and politics, would be a good source of wisdom. If not him, then there was one other.
He was brought out of his thoughts by the footsteps of another approach. His head snapped in the direction as his nostrils took in the other's scent. It nearly gagged him.
As he coughed, the other grumbled something he could not hear. "What are you doing?" Came the annoyed voice of the cursed troll.
With a hand, Rengar gestured for him to retreat back a few steps. As the air cleared, the beast could breathe again. He rose and looked at Trundle, who glared up at him on all fours. "Hello to you too." He said.
Rengar scowled at him. "And others do not cover their noses when you enter a room?" He asked. The troll did not move. "Sorry. You are not the center of my rage." He added.
"Apologize considered. What are you doing here anyway? No offense, but this isn't exactly a hunting ground." Trundle was another who normally used this particular area of the Institution. By the look on his face, the troll was in his usual pained state, though the cold air must be a relief on his burning wounds.
"I've got a lot on my mind and wanted a place that would be quiet and secluded." He answered. Rengar would have stayed in one of the provided rooms, but nature was more welcoming than a warm room and bed, even during the worst conditions.
Trundle wadded over to the fountain, looking at the statue's remains. "Small world. Anger at a past mistake?" He asked. The reply was a shake of his head. "That so? An argument with someone then?" He asked.
Rengar produced a soft, warning growl from his throat. "Why are you curious?" He asked, his breath heated.
"Distracts can lead to solutions. If not for you, then for me." He said. As though to prove his point, he peeled off a piece of his rotting flesh. When it was detached from the rest of his skin, it began to decay faster, turning black as if weeks had past. Over the part he had pulled, a patch of healthy skin grew, but it soon began to rot as well. "Pain is in abundance. I'd like to forget mine for a moment." He added.
The hunter sat back down, placing his hands behind his head to make a cushion for his head against the hard bark. "It's my pride, if you must know. I failed to make a kill and now I may not have another chance." He admitted.
"Give it some time. Serial killings are best done if there is a connection. I doubt Kha'Zix has the patience to make such precise strikes and cover his tracks." He commented, scratching at a bit of bleeding flesh.
He kept his gaze away from the rotting Trundle, instead looking toward the sky, watching the clouds. Hopefully, it would clear up before their meeting. When he said the name of the Void beast, Rengar let out an agitated sigh. "No, it's not him." Trundle looked toward the hunter. "Let's just say my prey escaped because it has a noble reason to." He added.
Trundle turned back to the water, putting his elbows on the stone as he watched the water flow and spill. "A noble reason is it? Well, my kind aren't known for those, but I guess I'm an exception. Ever considered going for a different prey? Take Kha'Zix for example. If you can't get him, go for Cho'Gath. He's in a cell and can't very well run. Make a duel out of it." He offered. It did not sound like an honest suggestion. Not at all.
"Not for this prey. This one is one of a kind." He said.
This time, the troll turned around, placing his knuckles on the ground and crouching down. He wore a confused expression on his gruesome face. "And what prey would that be?" He questioned.
Rengar weighed the decision of telling this creature, and what he knew about trolls. While he did not think there would be many problems, the chance of rumors spreading was a great risk. Everyone knew he wanted to kill the most recent Void being, but how would it look if all of them, champions, summoners, and citizens, thought his obsession with hunting was so great it put all of their lives in danger? He was a hunter, not a monster.
"I cannot tell you." Was all he could say.
Trundle began to move forward, but stopped as his right knuckle lifted. Instead, he scratched his head. "You and this prey will have to come to terms with each other. Unless you are willing to take up its noble duty, you'll be viewed as a murderer." He said. The troll moved his hand from his head and began to draw in the cold mud near the fountain. "Do you know the origin of my plight? This curse that rots my body and keeps me in this limbo of disease and remarkable regeneration?" He asked.
For the first time, Rengar looked at his companion, curious of the tell. "It was a necromancer's doing. It came to kill your people for land?" He asked.
Trundle nodded. "------ My people defeated him, but he left them a parting gift that he hoped would kill them. It did not. Until I was born, there was no hope for my people to ever return to normal. When I came of age, I accepted the burden my people had been forced to bear, some from birth to death. I could have refused. Had I done that, none of them would have felt angry toward me, but, in the end, I would have been the only one well among all of the sick." He said, his drawing telling the tale in a very short form.
When he finished, he looked up. Rengar held his heart skip a beat at that look. "The burden I bear is one of choice, one I wear like a badge of honor. Every day is a torment unlike any most will ever know, yet, at the center of it all, it's like a bee sting compared to the pain of knowing I live each day the way my village could have." With one motion, he wiped the images away. "Of course, I am still looking for a cure, but that's not the point. If this prey of yours has a reason to live, you must chose to take up its station, come to terms with it, or live with regret for what you have wrought. You have too much pride to change into a murderer and think nothing of it." He finished.
Rengar was silent and motionless for several, long moments. Finally, he stood and walked toward the troll. He stared down into his eyes, the eyes of a creature who knowingly and willingly suffered so his people could live the life he had given up, yet tried to find a way to join them. This creature, Trundle the troll, had made a sacrifice few would consider, and fewer would agree to. He smiled and patted the rotting flesh of the troll's shoulder. "Thank you, my friend. You've helped me more than you will ever know." He said.
Trundle shrugged with both shoulders when he removed his hand. "You scratched my back, I just wanted to return the favor." He replied.
As Rengar turned to leave, he stopped halfway. "Why did you damage the fountain?" He asked.
"That? I have a really bad temper toward jokes. I didn't even break the statue, the guy I hit did." He said, letting out a fit of laughter.
Rengar chuckled at that, then turned and continued to leave. He'd have to prepare for his next hunt. Why wait?
Never thought of Trundle that way
You are not ceasing to amaze me so far. Trundle's personality was excellently captured. I've never actually read the lore for Trundle, but it seems that I could basically tell you exactly what it is from this story, but for someone who has read it, it still is a good interpretation.
Great job, can't wait for more
Chapter 6: Terror Night
"When you said I should expect company, I did not think you meant here." Nidalee stated, her tone slightly annoyed, as she sharpened her spear with the air of a stone. "That said, why are you still here?"
Teemo, loading a normal dart into his blowgun before test firing it at a target of leave, turned a coy smile at her. "Because I was worried about you. We're friends, and friends look out for each other." He replied.
"He's right! We can't just let you risk your life on chance." Tristana added, cleaning out her cannon. Her pack of ammo lay beside her, each of the balls nearly as large as her head, ready in case of trouble. "If Rengar tries any fishy business, we'll keep you save." She added.
Nidalee was thankful for their support and honored the two of them would want to help her like this, but she did not want either of them to get involved in her fight. If all went well, there would be no fight. "You two have to promise me that, if something goes wrong, neither of you can intervene." She said.
The two yordles look to one another, then replied as one "Promise."
"I mean it. Even if he has a knife to my throat, do not get involved." She hissed, as though the two were intruding into a personal matter. They were, but it was out of friendship and not an invasion of privacy. Telling them to leave now, with the resolve in their eyes, would be a waste of breath and energy. Besides, with the coming night, the two would cause more harm to the jungle than good for her.
Again, they looked to one another, sharing a conversation between their friendly, cute eyes. Finally, they separated, Tristana going back to cleaning her gun and Teemo turning to Nidalee. "We promise to not intervene on yours or Rengar's behalf. Think of us as spectators." He said, smiling.
Nidalee let out a troubled sigh, stopping at her work of sharpening, and looked to the sky. Tonight was the night of the full moon, and meeting between her and Rengar to discuss the terms of their challenge. If needed, that meant it would begin and end the same night. "Very well, but stay out of sight. The last time we spoke, Rengar was very suspicious of me... cheating, I suppose. I do not wish to live my life in fear, thinking he's waiting within ever bush, in every tree, waiting for me to drop my guard." She explained, revealing the root of her terrors.
There was no doubt that, if provoked, he would hunt her like any animal, waiting for the precise moment then he could take her without a fight. He was a hunter, perhaps the best she will ever know. To fight him in his element, as hunter and prey, would mean death. Her only chance at life was balanced on keeping the trust she had gained as predators. That balance was already tilting.
"We still have time before nightfall. Are your traps set Nidalee?" Tristana asked, finished cleaning her cannon and now aiming it. She wouldn't fire, not in this enclosed space, and not without it being loaded. "Also, you may want to wash up before going. No offense, but you smell like an animal." She said.
Nidalee shot the female yordle a glare, her face blushing in embarrassment a little. "Thank you, but I will be fine." She said.
Tristana raised an eyebrow. "Let him see you without the layer of dirt. It may make things easier when you talk to him." She said, hinting at something else. Teemo's chuckle revealed he knew exactly what his comrade spoke of.
"You're telling me to seduce him? Seduce Rengar, the priderstalker and hunter of the world's deadliest beasts?" She asked, her tone serious, if not that of a skeptic person.
Nidalee knew the process of attracting a mate, she had been taught so by her cougar family and by her fellow League champions. She did not seduce, however, and she had yet to fine a mate of either species. Cougars did not hide that they found her an oddity to them, no matter her form, but neither did they treat her as an outcast. Summoners and citizens found her very attentive, yet kept their emotional distance due to her wild nature. She was a born human, but became something different. She knew she was no monster, yet, at times, she wanted to find someone who would love her for who she was without being turned away by her other, bestial side. Friends were a wonder to have, but she wanted someone to treasure and for the same person to treasure her.
"No. I'm saying you are dirty and in need of a bath. Rengar is part beast, like Warwick, and has a sensitive nose. Haven't ever noticed how he avoids smelly places?" Tristana asked. She tossed her pack of ammo over her shoulders, threw her cannon over her left, and grabbed Nidalee by her wrist. "Come on. I saw a waterfall over there. I can wash your back and Teemo will patrol the perimeter." She added.
Teemo stood at attention, giving them a salute. "Captain Teemo will let none have so much as a glance." He said.
Tristana nodded, then looked to Nidalee for her answer. The yordle was too small to pull her, but she did pull on her arm.
Finally, Nidalee submitted. "Alright, I'll go. Let me go and I'll follow you." She said.
When Tristana did so, Nidalee placed her sharpening stone in a pouch at her belt, her spear behind her back, and stood from her place. As Tristana led the way, Teemo went in another direction to take up his position as guard. The two yordles worked as a great team, on and off the battlefields. It brought a smile to her face, grateful to have such trustworthy friends.
The waterfall was not far from where they were. As Nidalee and Tristana set their things on dry ground, Teemo vanished into the darkening woods. "He won't be spying on us, will he?" Nidalee asked as she removed her boots.
Tristana giggled and waved the concern away. "Of course not. Once, when we were on a walk, it started raining. By the time we found cover, the both of us were soaked to the bone, our clothes like sponges. The darling blinded him with one of his darts so he couldn't see me while our clothes dried." She said. By the stunned look on her face, Nidalee would never have believed such a thing. "Okay, so that's a lie. He wanted to blind himself, but I convinced him to wrap a cloth around his eyes." She admitted.
Nidalee closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. "You had me worried for a moment there." She said.
As the two of them undressed, Tristana offered Nidalee a towel to cover herself. The water was cold, but it was not unbearably so. When they finished, dried off, and fully dressed, Tristana let out a long, piercing whistle. Nidalee recognized it as that of one of the birds within the jungle, only the pitch was slightly altered. In moments, Teemo emerged from the woods, a smile on his face. "Captain Teemo reporting in!" He said, standing at attention and giving his salute once more.
Both women giggled at him before Tristana stood at attention as well, giving him a short salute before letting it drop. "At ease Captain." He dropped the salute and eased his stance. "Anything to report?" She asked.
Teemo shook his head. "Nothing out of the ordinary Lieutenant." He said.
Tristana smiled up at Nidalee. "Time for your meeting, and make sure he sees your true stripes." She said, slapping her bottom.
Nidalee took a step forward before turning her head to smile and nod at the both of them. "I will. Thank you." She said. As she changed into her cougar form and started into the jungle, Teemo and Tristana followed, staying at a distance in case they were needed.
With the full moon overhead, a slight overcast obscuring part of it now and again. The air held a chill, winter's call that the cold would only worsen as the days went on. Though it was not completely black, if a large enough cloud were to drift in front of the moon, the night would be plunged into darkness for a brief moment.
Standing there, in the meadow near where the two of them had met and clashed Rengar and Nidalee stood. In her right hand, Nidalee held her spear, her left contained one of her traps with Teemo's vibrate colored mushroom intertwined within the blades. Her spear's point was to the ground in front of her, but she could, at a moment's notice, turn it up into a deadly obstacle. Rengar, standing with his hands over the hilts of his knives, stood as ready as she. He wore a belt that contained four bolas, extra but smaller knives, and a single pouch by itself at his belt.
Nidalee looked him over. He stood as beastly as she remembered, tall, muscular, a full mane of hair around his head, one piercing eye that seemed to stare into her soul and analyze her whole being next to an angry red false eye at the center of a long scar on his face. This was the pridestalker, a hunter who collected trophies of his greatest kills. With only two failures out of an uncountable number of hunts, he was as confident as death. Tonight, that score would be changed.
Rengar looked over her with the same eye for detail she was giving him. Her skin, he noticed was fresh and clean. The times he had seen her before made her look more beast, a layer of fur, dirt, and a small amount of blood masking her true looks. He could clearly see the long triangles that were her tattoos, a sign of magic and strength, possibly even rank along her feline family. Her weapons were as imposing as he toned figure. The spear glimmered in the moonlight, its sharpened point testament to the care she had put into it, and the trap she held was as Elise said. Besides those he could see, he knew that she was just as dangerous unarmed as she was armed, maybe more so. His failure the first time was not due to his surprise, but her experience.
Through the silence, the only sound was that of the wind blowing against the grass and leaves. Now and again, a leaf blew past them, carried by the chilling wind. Despite the cold, neither of them moved so much as an inch. His fur kept him warm. Her clothes kept her warm.
Finally, it was Rengar who broke the tension. He shuffled from one foot to the other before clearing his throat. "Nidalee!" He called, the sound of his voice carried with the wind. She moved her shoulders, preparing for the worst. "You are a fine specimen of a prey, unlike anything I have ever faced in my life! There has only been one other to evade my blades and live. Tonight, I will not make the same mistake!" He growled, the ring of his knives being drawn free echoing in the night air.
Nidalee's right arm moved, her stance changing to a more suitable combat stance. Her eyes steeled as hard as the point of her weapon. In her left hand, she prepared to throw it at him. She was ready to guard and counterattack, or evade and retreat. He had to make a move, and she would too.
Her heart skipped a deep as she watched him bend down and slide his knives toward her. He removed his weapons belt, then tossed it onto the two knives. As he straightened, he held his arms out, head bent down. "You are no prey of mine." He said.
Nidalee fell to her knees, her hands dropping to the ground. "What?" She heard herself ask.
Rengar looked up at her as he spoke. "You are no huntress in this. You are the protector of your home, your family. What right have I come here and hunt you? All for a worthless trophy? No." He said, shaking his head.
Slowly, he approached her, putting a hand under her arm to help her stand. "You're just guarding your territory from invaders who would wish you or your family harm, same as I did when I first meant Kha'Zix and was drawn to the League. If anything, I am afraid of you." He said. He walked over to his spoke, passing his weapons, and turned back to her. "From one hunter to a huntress, will you join me for a hunt?" He asked.
Nidalee was stunned to hear this. All this time she had been afraid of this being her last night alive, ready to defend herself from an adversary she had almost no chance against, and now, as though by magic, he was asking her permission to stay here, inviting her to hunt with him. She was speechless, trying to find some way for him to turn this around, as if it was a charade to catch her off guard. He had walked right up to her and helped her up, rather than try to pin her down and break her neck. He had disarmed himself, throwing his weapons at her feet and walking past them as though they did not exist.
She felt a tear come to her eye, then roll down her cheek. She released her trap, letting it fall to the ground and arm itself, and wiped the tear away. She looked up at Rengar, her vision blurry, an honest smile on her face. After a few moments, she spoke. "I would be honored. Thank you." She said.
A hissing cry pierced the night. Bushes rustled in the distance. From behind Rengar, Teemo came out of the woods, running toward the two. His face depicted fear and danger. "Nidalee! We've got trouble!" He shouted.
Behind him, Tristana blasted out of the trees, her cannon smoking as she loaded another cannon ball into it. Without saying anything, she fired into the darkness before turning and retreating. Something was hit, producing a "Splat!" sound.
Out of the trees and bushes a group of giant spiders came. Behind them, a larger, more deadly spider emerged. All of their fangs dripped with deadly venom, and each one held red eyes that pierced the night.
From between them, glass cracked and shattered as two black spiders grew out of the pouch of Rengar's belt. They were as big as yordles when they stopped. They only had one eye, but it was piercing red. One jumped toward Rengar, the other toward Nidalee.
Rengar was quick, catching it by its front two legs and tossing it away. He rolled toward his things, snatched up one of his two hunting knives, and threw it at the spider. The knife struck hard into its head, splitting the eye in two. As green blood gushed out of the wound, Rengar charged it, tackling it the ground before ripping its legs off.
Nidalee held her attacker at bay with her spear, forcing it to the ground with all her might. As its legs clawed at the air, trying to get up, she threw one of her traps at it. It stuck for a moment, then the blades sliced its head in four. After a few moments, it eased all movements, allowing her to remove its body from her spear.
By this time Teemo and Tristana were there with them. Teemo held his blowgun, a dark already inside, as he turned his back to the two of them and raised it to fire at the advancing horde. "They just came out of nowhere! Dozens of them! Tristana and I did our best to take care of them, but then that big one showed up. I they belong to-" He was cut off by Tristana's cannon firing, but he did not need to finish to know what he was going to say.
"They're Elise's!" Nidalee growled. She looked to Rengar, who had dispatched his attacker without a scratch, and was gathering his weapons. "Those two spiders came from your pack. What were you doing with them?" She demanded.
Rengar turned his head to her, then shook his head. "I had them in case of trouble. I didn't think they would be trouble!" He roared back.
"Argue later! We have bigger problems now!" Tristana yelled, drawing their attention back to the horde before them. There were seven spiders advancing toward them, their bodies only being knocked back by her cannon balls. It was no wonder Teemo had run toward them instead of attacking. He could do nothing unless he hit their tiny eyes. "The armored ones do not look to have fangs, but they are guarding the ones that do." She informed.
Nidalee and Rengar shared a look, then ran past Tristana. "We'll take of them. You two worry about the dangerous ones." Rengar called back. He smiled, glancing at Nidalee for a moment. "Not the hunt I had planned." He said, sounding more like an apology.
She swung her spear in her arms, fixing it so she held it in both of her hands. "You may get a trophy after all." She said. The hunter nodded slightly.
Rengar swung hard, his blade crashing into the armored exoskeleton of the spider before it. A few inches in and the blade caught, forcing him to pull it out. The wound was enough, so he used the rope of his bola and caught its front right two legs, roaring as he pulled the massive insect over. A split second later, a cannon ball sounded behind him, followed by a splat.
A growl behind him cried out in angry, but was silenced with a grunt from Nidalee, her spear entering its head from the collection of eyes in the center of its head. She jumped onto her shoulders and pushed the length of her weapon down deeper, causing the insect to cry out in agony before she swiftly pulled her spear free.
She pushed down on his shoulders, a noise escaping her lips as she flew through the air. In that instant, Rengar felt his blood boil, as though a wild surge coursed through his body. With it, his adrenaline increased. Turning, he saw Nidalee in her cougar form, growling at two more of the armored foes. He lunged forward, leaping over her to land on the ground. Rolling forward, he came up under the left one, his knives digging into its chest and he pulling them free. Despite its armor, his momentum had given him enough power to cut it open, the magic surging through him providing the speed to create the fatal wound.
To his right, Nidalee tackled the other one, forcing it off six of its eight legs and onto the ground. In fluid movements, she returned to her human form, sliced its throat with her spear once, spun around, gaining momentum, before coming back a full 360 degrees and ramming her spear into it neck, the head bouncing off with the force of the violate impact.
Teemo was there as well, firing darts to blind the foes. The one Rengar had taken down with his bola now lay dead, a poisoned dart in each of eye. He threw his mushrooms into the mouths of the less armored spiders, giving Nidalee and Rengar the oppritunity to strike them down without fear of being bitten.
By the time the big one was close enough, only a single poison spider remained. It raised its front claws up, then brought them down. A cannon ball from Tristana knocked it off balance slightly, causing it just miss Nidalee, standing on the twitching body of the spider she just decapitated, and Teemo, laying one the ground from only just dodging it.
Rengar ran past, grabbing the scout and tossing him away. "Are you alright!? Nidalee!" He called. There was no answer. "Nidalee!" He called again.
In answer, the cougar growled. He looked up to see her clinging to the creature's claw with her sharp front claws. Her back claws dug into the ground.
He charged toward the captured leg, swinging his knife at it in an attempt to remove it. His blade just bounced off. "Damnit!" He growled. When the beast moved, he grabbed Nidalee by the pelt and threw her over his shoulder, retreated before the beast could bite them.
It must have been twelve feet tall. It's fangs were like curved swords that had been bathed in poison. Eight fat legs moved the six foot long body forward, trees only minor obstacles before it. With a hissing cry it looked and sounded like a nightmare come to life. Neither Rengar nor Nidalee feared spiders. This... this was no spider.
Nidalee returned to her human form and beat on Rengar's back. "Let me go! We have to kill that thing!" She cried.
He did no such thing. "Look at it! It's big and tough. We cannot punch through that hide of its! We need to find something else to kill it!" He said. He reached the two yordles, Tristana standing protectively in front of Teemo. "Can he move?" He asked. Teemo nodded. "We have to get out of here. Now!" He ordered.
When the beast cried out its demonic hiss again, and began to move toward them, the two needed no other encouragement. "Where are we going?" Tristana asked, pulling up the rear to keep firing at the beast. Her shots were doing nothing in terms of damage, but they were staggering it.
"First of all, stop shooting it! You're wasting your shots!" He growled. He heard her curse, then saw her out the corner of his eye. "Nidalee! Is there a place here that we can use to kill that thing? Jagged rocks, a crevice, something?" He asked.
Nidalee managed to work herself free of his grip. Tumbling to her feet, she remained crouched, unmoving. "Wait! Something's not right..." She called out.
The other three slowed and finally stopped, then looked to Nidalee before looking to the spider beast. It was not going completely into the meadow. It hissed and let out several cries, but did not advance. If anything, it back up several of its steps.
"It won't follow?" Rengar asked.
Nidalee nodded. "It won't leave its territory." She said, watching it hiss. If it wouldn't leave its territory, and it was a magic spider, then who brought it to the jungle? Only one name came to mind, but that did not answer how it got to the jungle. "We'll have to leave it for the time being. I'll talk to the League when I get the chance, but fighting it alone is too dangerous." She said.
The others nodded their agreement, but Rengar had that look in his eye. "If the dog is leashed to one spot, it might be fun to taught it." He said, a dark smile and sinister laugh following.
Nidalee slowly shook her head, turning to face them. "Do not do something so foolish. Look at its back." She said, pointing to the creature's back. It was moving, like ants on a dark floor. It was carrying eggs, some as big as soccer balls. Each one moved, some with visible young spider-lings inside, others with tiny cracks in their flesh-like shells.
She eventually rose to her feet, then looked to Teemo and Tristana. "How did you two come across those?" She asked. She caught a glance at Rengar, looking angry. "They insisted on comings as, if nothing else, spectators." She explained.
"We were scouting the perimeter, and then those things just popped out of the ground." Teemo said. Tristana nodded her agreement, using her hands to hide her head then lifting them up like she was burrowed underground.
Nidalee looked to Rengar for his opinion. He shrugged, either not knowing what to say or not wanting to answer. She looked back to the large spider beast, its head now poking out of the vegetation. "We'll have to leave it for now." She said, disappointed. A new ally had been made, but a great foe had been discovered. If she was lucky, she'd get some sleep.
This one took me a little while to get together, mostly been busy with school and family. I've made an account on fanfiction.net, as well as wattpad, and will post 2 replies on the link provided-
Either I will go on with the fanfic, or I will make a love-interest chapter, which will take longer. Just vote for the one you want.
Chapter 7: A Hunt for Answers
"Have you any further evidence?" The Summoner, one of five, asked. The robed figure held in his hands the head of an armored spider, the same one Nidalee had decapitated the night before. "Champion Nidalee. Are you sleeping?" He asked.
Nidalee looked up, her arms folded before her on the table to make a pillow for her head. She yawned as she rubbed her eyes. "Yes! Yes Summoner. I am awake." She really was not, but she'd have to try to hold on for now.
The previous night had been a mix of success and failure. Though Rengar would no long attempt to kill her within the Institution and Kumungu Jungle, he did warn that she was still at risked if she ventured into a different forest. The attack Teemo and Tristana had caused proved, to her at least, that Elise was trying to take over her home. Still, there was something familiar about that large one.
The lead Summoner passed the head to his fellows so they could look as well. He put his hands together in front of him, staring at Nidalee like the judge. "My question then: Have you any other proof that Elise, the Spider Queen and one of the champions of the League of Legends, is breeding these "super-spiders" in a remote area of the Kumungu Jungle other than this single head?" He repeated.
"Yes. With Teemo's aid, I can show you where their nest is." She said. Assuming there was no change in location, a team could safely get in and find the nest. Another problem was whether or not the summoners would believe her and offer their aid.
The Summoner shook his cloaked head before speaking. "Elise was given permission to make a nest in the Kumungu Jungle, a charter written for her, making it legal." He said. Nidalee's eyes went wide at this news. The Summoner held up his hand to silence her. "We know the location and what is being done there. From a legal standpoint, you, Teemo, Tristana, and Rengar have trespassed and killed a large number of her pets." Gesturing, he took the head back and placed it between his hands. "While this specimen is beyond what we have authorized her to breed, it does not prove any maleficent intentions on her behalf. Vilemaw, who resides within the Twisted Treeline, is the breed produced by the large spider you have described to use, and shares similar qualities with this one." He finished.
"Champion Nidalee. We will overlook last night's incident for you and those with you, but Champion Elise will not be taken into custody on what you and Champion Rengar have said. You are dismissed." He said.
Nidalee rose from her seat. "Summoners! Please reconsider! You do not know how strong those... things are." She pleaded.
"We will speak with her and examine them personally. You and the others are not allowed to interfere again. Dismissed." He said, giving his judgement and putting an end to any further questions.
As he and the others stood to leave, Nidalee was about to object, but fell silent when she saw none of them look her way again.
Walking in silent despair, and barely able to keep her eyes open, she felt herself hit someone. "Sorry." She muttered in a soft whisper.
Soft, furry arms wrapped around her arms and chest, causing a purr to escape her. She had to fight to keep herself from falling asleep in those soft, comfortable arms. "How'd it go?" Her eyes shot open, then closed once more. She shook her head in his arms. "No luck then. That's too bad. Well, can't have you falling asleep in the hallway." She heard him say.
She felt an arm move to her legs, then her feet freed from the ground. Her hands went to the skin on her stomach before leaning her head back, adjusting her shoulder to make it more comfortable.
"-lee? Nidalee?" A voice called, stirring her from her slumber. Tossing her head and muttering in protest, she finally awoke to find herself in a bed of one of the many rooms reserved strictly for the use of champions. "About time. Now, what did Summoners have to say about our "friend's" gift last night?" He asked.
After rubbing her eyes with the back of her hand, much like a cat would while it cleaned itself, Nidalee looked up at Rengar's eyes. They did not stay locked for long as her gaze went down to the sheets covering her lower half. "They will take no action without further proof. Worse, that section of the jungle was given to her for use. That beast may have even given birth to Vilemaw." She said.
The hunter looked down, a low, sad growl emanating from within his throat, taking in what she said. Even if they could kill it, that would create more problems than it would solve. "What do you think?" He asked.
"There is nothing I can do. If they stay in their section, it will be a miracle." She answered. What could be done if those who led the Institution had already made a decision on this matter? If needed, she and her feline family would be forced to find a new home. "Thank you for your concern, but, if it must be, my family and I will find new grounds to live." She added.
Rengar leaned back in the chair near her bed, having stayed by her side while she slept, and rocked himself in the smooth, polished wood chair. "I see. Do not forget: There are others who depend on the jungle." He said. His chair thunk down, leaning forward with an arm over his knee. "I would suggest speaking with the Rise of Thorns. Best to take advantage of the leash while it's still short." He said, a merciless smile, fangs showing.
Nidalee thought of this. A smile came to her face. "It's a good thing we have our truce. Going against you frightens me." She said, turning to look at the one sitting a few feet from her. "How long have I been asleep? I need to return to the jungle." She said, beginning to rise.
Rengar put a hand to her chest, pushing her back down. "I spoke with Trundle while you were asleep. His tribe, the Ruhgosk, will make sure the pests stay in their place." He assured her.
She leaned back, not fighting it. The Ruhgosk were friendly, as far as trolls went, and she had spoken with them in the past. Knowing Trundle would speak on her behalf, eased some of her worry. "Why would Trundle help me though?" She asked.
"He and I spoke the other day. Without his counsel, last night may have turned out differently. However, he wants something in return." He said. A worried look appeared on her face. "He would like to search your territory for a way to cleanse his curse." He said.
Nidalee let out a sigh, relaxing both physically and mentally. "Alright. That will not be a problem." She said. She yawned, covering her mouth, and laid back down. She closed her eyes, but then opened one and looked at him. "Could you leave for now?" She asked.
He rose from his seat, shrugging the stiffness from his shoulder, before heading toward the door. "Sleep well." He said, then closed the door as he walked out of the room, closing the door behind himself.
"The kitten taking a nap?" Asked a familiar voice. Rengar turned to see a pale Elise wearing blue and black colors. "My children informed me of a very exciting event last night. Plus a number of their siblings who were killed." She said, her tone putting a lie to her kind smile.
Rengar let out a low, threatening growl, a mostly silent warning for her to keep her distance. "Now, now. No reason to get testy. I'm not the villain here." She added.
A knife came half way out of its sheath. "Those two "harmless" spiders grew and tried to kill me!" He growled, keeping his voice low.
Her smile faded, replace by a serious frown. "What? They grew? They should have stayed that same size." She questioned.
He kept his hand where it was, ready to strike if she so much as said the wrong thing. "As big as yordles, actually. Be warned: If you do not explain yourself, I will kill you. Treachery with me is punishable by death." He warned.
Elise turned her back to him, walking a short distance away before turning slightly. He watched her like a hawk, ready to snatch her up and break her in one fell swoop. "It must have been something in the jungle that caused it. Did you go to any ruins or touch any items?" She asked.
Rengar didn't move. "All I did was go where Nidalee and I agreed to meet. No detours. No magic items." He explained simply. He made no effort to hide his displeasure with the spider queen, neither did it seem to unnerve her.
"That is very strange. Very strange indeed..." She whispered, looking down to the floor in thought. After a few seconds, she looked up again. "I will look into it personally. If my darlings are being too naughty, I will simply move them back to the Shadow Isles. If it will ease your tension, you may accompany me." She offered.
He shook his head, no hesitation in his eye. "I've better things to do than walk into a nest of venomous insects on your word alone." He said, coldly. "Have you anything else to say? Or are you playing at some twisted game?" He growled.
Elise smiled at him, though it looked more like the kind a black window would give her husband before feasting on it, before turning her back to him. "No games. Not for now anyway." She replied. As she walked away, her head turned back to him, meeting him eye to eye. "Until next time." She spoke, her form disappearing behind a corner.
When he was sure she was gone, Rengar opened Nidalee's door, locked it, and closed it once more. Before he did close it, he saw that she was sleeping sounding, curled up under the blankets like a cat. She truly was a beautiful creature.
"These react to movement?" Rengar asked, sceptically, turning over the plant with the aid of his knife.
Zyra, standing a few inches taller than him, gently stroked the tips of her fingers over smooth, green skin of the plant. "Movement and vibrations. If something so much of breathes near one, it will snap toward it, coiling around it. One way or another, this generation will get a meal. One would be lucky to lose only an arm at best. A head or half their body at worse." She explained, continuing to gently pet the deadly plant as though it were her favorite pet.
This was promising, but there was also the risk of causing more harm than good. "How far do these grow?" He asked.
"They grow along the ground, snaking in and out of the soil. If you wish them to protect your large kitty cat friend, these would certainly do the job... assuming she never leaves the tops of trees." Zyra warned. By the look on his face, she could tell this kind of protection was not what he wanted. "I am not a peaceful gardener, like those you see around here. I can promise only offensive suggestions." She then looked to him, raising an eyebrow as the thorn-ridden plant moved up her arm. "Why are you interested in protecting her? I can say, from living there, that the Kumungu Jungle can care for itself. If there is an infestation of spiders, begun by Elise, she will soon be without them." She said.
When the plant fully wrapped itself around her arm, she brought its end up to her face, one end going to her shoulder but the other laying against her wrist and palm. She kissed the end of it, turning a sly smile on Rengar. "Besides. The jungle is home to many more than simply Nidalee and her cats. I would be careful if I were you. Even my visits are carefully planned." She added.
Rengar took her words to heart, even if they did not give him much in way of relief. "Thank you for your time." He said, then turned to leave.
Before he could make it more than a few feet away, he held something grab his ankle. Looking to its source, he swiftly pulled, bringing free of the loose grip of the brown vine. "Tread carefully pridestalker, lest you lose your way and are unable to leave." She warned.
The two stared at one another for what seemed like hours. Finally, Zyra broke the gaze, returning to her plants. Rengar then proceeded out of the garden and toward a more friendly area.
His walk brought him back to the guest rooms. While he was there, he decided he might as well see if Nidalee was awake. No doubt she'd want to return to her jungle as soon as possible.
When he reached for the door knob, he paused, remembering he had locked it, and knocked with the back of his knuckles instead. He was answered by the sound of a gasp, then footsteps growling louder. "Who is it?" Came Nidalee's voice.
"Rengar. How are you?" He answered.
The opened, and he was pulled inside by his arm. She quickly closed and locked the door when he was inside. When she turned to face him, he saw that she was wearing more... civilized clothes. (It's her pharaoh skin, the new remodeled one.)
She smiled at the look on his face. "You've not seen these clothes, have you?" She asked. He shook his head. "I wear them only when I must be among the civilized for extended times. Do you not like them?" She questioned, placing her hands behind her head, her left leg behind her right, and turning slightly to her left.
Rengar only stared at her, completely speechless. It was not until the sound of a far off clock that the hunter was brought out of his trance. "N- no. You look very... beautiful." He said.
Nidalee's cheeks held a slight, red tint. She turned her head, placing her arms behind her back, locking her fingers. "Thank you." She said. There was an awkward silence, then she spoke. "I heard Elise outside. What did the two of you talk about?" She asked.
When he did not answer after a minute, she looked to see his eyes closed, as though he were in deep concentration. "Rengar..." She began. He opened his eyes to see her standing there in front of him. "Is there something else on your mind?" She asked.
Slowly, she moved her right hand over his left shoulder, behind his head, her fingers reaching through his mane of hair. She pulled herself toward him, and his head to to her, resting his head on her right shoulder. Her left arm then circled around his back.
When she felt the fur of his arms on the skin of her exposed back, she closed her eyes.
So, my offer at editing has been rejected? Or do you mean we 'volunteer editors' view on Fanfict.net and then after it's edited we post on Forum? Anyways...
"Nidalee knew the process of attracting a mate, she had been taught so by her cougar family and by her fellow League champions. She did not seduce, however, and she had yet to fine a mate of either species."
find not fine
But it "does not impede meaning" as my English teacher always says.
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