Juniper clutched harder at her stomach. Not only was her phantom pain acting up, but she was hungry as all hells. Just as a growl escaped from her small body did some bread and cooked meat fell down from the skies onto her lap. For a moment she remained in silent, staring at the food in disbelief. For half a second, she really did think it fell from the sky. A quick look up revealed that it was not divine providence that assured her next meal, but a fully armoured man staring down at her very menacingly. At least he seemed menacing, but it might have been due to his helmet and generally tough looking apparel.
The multiple weapons on his person, among which a very vile looking hook, did not help his appearance.
Him speaking up destroyed the remaining hopes that a kind hearted man hid under such garments. His voice was deep, and his ordering tone did not exude any friendly warmth. A hunter, to be sure. Perhaps a killer, too? Juniper had heard nasty rumours from the folks about what kind of people had joined the King's newly appointed Hunters.
As he stopped, his group did not really wait for him. Nor did he wait for her answer: after dropping the food, he ordered her to follow and basically just took off with his group. Left on the spot, Juniper quickly took the food and jumped up, looked around as if there would be some sort of answer to her predicament in her immediate surroundings, and dashed off to keep up with the armoured figure.
Now, she did not do so to follow orders, but she was put on the spot and did not have time to think her decision. The man had given her food - she owed him. In the late weeks, she managed to stay clear of being in anyone's debts, as she hated not being to repay them. How the hell was she supposed to repay someone who was among the richer group of folks in the city?
Strangely enough, no one seemed to matter that she tagged alone even once outside city gates. She remained in the man's shadow, silent as a lamb. It happened to her often enough - that none even acknowledged her presence. They either did not even see her, or did not care the slightest.
It wasn't until they reach a wooded area that she truly began wondering why she actually followed them, and how the hell she got from her usual wandering of the city to prowling in the woods with a group of hunters.
Moments later, they were before a cavern entrance. Everything happened ridiculously fast:
Armoured man kicked down the door. Same man threw a torch in and charged inside like a mad man. Some shadowy hooded man also charged in, albeit with less murderous intent, or not as clear. Quickly enough, she was alone outside. Afeared, she took refuge by the cavern's entrance until the noise of fighting got deeper and deeper into the cavern.
It was only then that she dared to step - very slowly - toward the entrance. As soon as she turned the corner she came face to face with a kid about her age. A very pale boy faced her, looking just as surprised as her to see a child there. It took her a moment to realize she blocked his way. Surely he had managed to hide and sneak his way past the moving onslaught.
he took a step toward her, glaring his fangs at her, but stopped dead in his track, confusion in his eyes. He looked at her from top to bottom. It was as if he smelled
Juniper simply stepped aside, motioning him to leave. "Go...quick!"
After one last glance at her, he was gone.
A quick glance at the massacre inside quickly brought back bad memories and made her decide to remain outside and wait for the hunters to reappear. After which she will follow them back to the city and do her very best to never get in such a situation ever again.
She clutched at her stomach stronger than before. The phantom pain was back in full.