Hunter woke up feeling sore all over. His back, arms and legs ached from the day before: grudgby “training” with Luz.
He sat up reluctantly, wincing at his tender triceps. It didn’t take long for him to wake up fully, as Luz was tearing through the house, getting ready for school. Hunter heard her running, then crash into the ground, with a loud “OW!” to follow.
Hunter ran to the door and peeked out to find Luz sitting upright, rubbing her knee.
“Oh, hey, good morning Hunter, I tripped over my shoelaces, I guess I need to actually take the time to tie them.”
Hunter shook his head. “Yeah, I promise, Luz, it’s worth the few seconds. And why are you in such a hurry? It’s only 7:15. School doesn’t start for an hour.”
Luz blushed. “Uh, well, I’m sneaking over to Blight Manor to walk Amity to school, since her parents don’t like me and won’t let me date her.”
Hunter rolled his eyes. The fucking Blights.
“You’re just way too unimaginably cool for them, Luz, trust me. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
Luz smiled up at him. “I like the new Hunter.” She stood up, checked her laces, then skipped down the stairs.
Hunter stepped back into his room and gently closed the door. It was only 7:15. He and Eda planned on running errands together that day, but not for another two hours, so he thought that maybe he could rest a little longer.
Hunter had never really valued sleep much, not before being rescued by Eda and the rest of the Owl House. In fact, Hunter never really valued anything regarding his well-being at all, only the well-being of Emperor Belos.
He caught a glimpse of his reflection in a sword that was propped up in the corner of the room. It was collecting dust, but he could see the shade of the bags under his eyes. Even after almost a month of living in the Owl House, his face looked sunken and tired.
Hunter couldn’t help but wonder if he’d look this roughed up forever. He had come to terms with the scars and even begun to not mind them so much, but the tired eyes made him feel sad.
Maybe he’d be sad forever. Hunter hoped not.
He got back under the covers of his mattress and tried to go back to sleep, but it was difficult.
Half an hour of tossing and turning later, Hunter was about to fall back asleep when his scroll started to light up and ding, over and over. Luz was blowing it up with messages.
LUZ: OMG HUNTER I FORGOT MY LUNCH!!!
LUZ: I’M GONNA STARVE THERES NO HUMAN FOOD HERE
LUZ: can you or Eda bring it to Hexside??”
LUZ: I’ll do ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!
HUNTER: I can bring it. NBD.
LUZ: TYSM BRO!!!!
HUNTER: Where should I drop it off?
LUZ: Go to the South entrance, the detention hall is there so it wont be busy. Tell me when you get there I can let you in!
Hunter shut off the scroll and dug through his box of belongings for clothes to wear. He pulled out a pair of jeans and a grey long-sleeved shirt. Somehow, Eda had a pair of jeans lying around that fit him perfectly, and he wore them nearly every day. The errands that day with Eda were to get Hunter more clothes, as well as the weekly grocery run.
Hunter walked down the stairs and into the kitchen, where Eda was leaning against the counter drinking a hot cup of apple blood.
“Hey, little man, you’re up early.” She said with a smirk.
“Yeah, Luz forgot this.” He said, shrugging and picking up the brown paper bag with a cat drawn on it. “I told her I’d bring it to her.”
Eda looked surprised. “Oh, shit, I wish I had known! I would have flown it over sooner.”
Hunter shrugged, again. “I think it would be nice to get some alone time, plus I need the walk to stretch out after Luz’s grudgby yesterday.”
Eda nodded. “Fair enough. Call if you get lost on the way, and I’ll fly with Owlbert to get ya!”
Hunter smiled at the owl lady, thanked her, and let himself out, greeting Hooty as he walked through the door.
“Good morning, Hoot! Do you need some company?” Hooty asked.
“No thanks, Hooty, I’m gonna do a solo walk. Maybe we can hang on the roof later?” Hunter proposed.
“That sounds like a hootin’ good time to me! Bye, Hunter! Hoot!”
Everyone worried that Hunter wouldn’t know his way around, but he knew his way in and out of Bonesborough quite well from his days of being the Golden Guard. It didn’t take long to reach Hexside School.
Unfortunately, he only knew his way around the town, not the buildings within its city limits.
Hexside was a giant building, and Hunter didn’t know which way was south. He walked to the back of the school and found a door that was unlabelled, so he assumed he was in the right place.
Before he entered, he messaged Luz as she requested:
HUNTER: hey, I’m here!
He pocketed the scroll and pulled the door open-- it was heavy. He was greeted by a dark, empty hallway with lockers on either side.
This looks pretty detention-like to me. Hunter thought as he started to walk down the hall.
Apparently, he walked for a long time because when he looked back, Hunter couldn’t see the door anymore.
Luz came bursting around the corner and nearly knocked Hunter over.
“AHH! Sorry, Hunter! I was running as fast as I could!”
Hunter handed the lunch bag over. “Luz! I’m glad you came, I have no idea where I am.”
Luz patted his shoulder and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry! I’m gonna be late! Go to the end of the hall and take 2 rights. Thanks a million!!”
Luz ran off just as fast as she came and quickly disappeared, leaving Hunter alone again.
End of the hall, 2 rights. End of the hall, 2 rights. Hunter repeated over and over in his mind, walking carefully down the hall.
He was so entranced in his thinking pattern that he didn’t see a group of students crouched in a corner, giggling.
“Hey, kid, what are you doing here?” someone said cooly, interrupting his concentration so abruptly that he jumped.
“Relax,” the person said, “We’re just curious.”
Hunter stood over the group, there were 3 students around his age. Two of them looked nearly identical, with green hair and porcelain skin, minus the lengths of their hair and their slight differences in facial figures. The other was a girl with brown bangs and a hook dangling from her ear.
“Um… I’m kind of lost.” he admitted, turning red. Hunter had never been lost before.
How embarrassing. he thought as the kids giggled.
The two girls stood up. “No you aren’t! I think you’ve come to exactly the right place!” The green-haired girl reached out to shake his hand.
“Emira Blight. This is our friend, Viney, and my brother Edric.” She motioned to the seated boy.
Hunter wiggled his fingers in a “hello” motion at him with his free hand and shook Emira’s with the other.
Honestly, Hunter was still putting the pieces together with the Blight family, and this was quite the surprise to him. He knew that Amity was a Blight, but had no idea that the twins even existed. This was very interesting news.
“Are you all in trouble? Why are you sitting here in the dark? Hunter asked.
Edric, Emira, and Viney burst out laughing. Then, they quickly shushed each other.
“We’re cutting class for a while.” Viney said simply. The two girls sat back down next to Edric.
“The lesson was super boring, so we each asked to go to the bathroom 5 minutes apart and we’ll just hang here until the bell rings.”
Hunter’s eyes widened in surprise. “Won’t someone come looking for you?!”
“Relax, I put up a Do Not Enter sign so no one will come through. This is our secret spot.” Edric said, smiling devilishly.
Hunter turned red again. He didn’t feel cool at all, not like he did when he was the big older teenager at the Owl House. This was mortifying. Duh, kids cut class all of the time.
“Sit down with us!” Emira exclaimed. “We don’t even know your name. But, you seem cool enough so you can totally hang with us.”
The two others nodded in agreement.
Hunter rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m… Hunter, and I totally would, but I have some preset plans for today with my new… mom, I guess?... and I only came here to drop off lunch for someone.” The thought of Eda as a mother figure wasn’t bad to Hunter, but he also had never called her that before. It felt pretty good, actually.
Edric shrugged. “That’s okay, next time maybe. Maybe you’ll enroll here and we’ll all see more of you.”
Hunter smiled at the thought of going to school. He had never been a regular student before, only a right-hand man to the Emperor, learning what Belos saw fit for him and the other disciples. And if Luz were already a student, it wouldn’t be THAT hard to convince Eda, right?
“Yeah,” He said quietly, “Maybe.”
Hunter turned to leave, but stopped in his tracks.
“Um… I don’t actually know where I am.”
Edric stood up. “That’s alright. I’ll get you out of here.”
Hunter looked back at Emira and Viney, who were waving and smiling at him. He waved nervously and disappeared into the halls of Hexside with Edric.
They took a few turns and somehow ended up at the same door Hunter had arrived in.
“Wow, I didn’t realize how lost I was. Thanks.” Hunter felt his face heat up once more out of embarrassment. “Um, I’m usually pretty good with directions but this is my first time here.”
Edric lightly punched his shoulder. It was sore, but Hunter didn’t dare say anything.
“No worries, Hunter! Hopefully I see you soon.”
Edric ran back down the hall, and Hunter exited into the bright sunshine. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust, but he started his walk back to the Owl House.
He hadn’t thought about it much before, but he didn’t realize how much he wanted to be a normal kid until now. It was time to convince Eda for him to enroll at Hexside.