Quitting the commission is proven to be easy, but clearing her criminal record isn't. No matter how skillful she is, if her track record is none and dirty, it means nothing. She believes that her name is banned by big commissions, fearing the potential of overthrowing the authority to execute the black commission's nasty agenda. Fortunately for them, she has enough of it.
She sells most of her belongings; materials, armors, and weapons, and uses the money to earn information. She spends a lot of time and money in the ... as people gathered there and juicy stories are shared.
After a bunch of nonsense and some punches, she finally gets her hands on the information she needs. Rumors about a huge, successful commission. There are rumors that the commission under captain Souda's care has the best hunters and huntresses coming from many places. They're also trusted with quests that are too dangerous for most, which proves their experiences and strength. There is the famous story of a group of four huntresses who belong to her commission slain the Safi’jiifa without major casualties, where ordinary hunters need to gather forces and take several risky tries in a simultaneous attack to actually slain it. It works as a sealing statement for how fearless and strong they are. It's no wonder that they don't open recruitment for all and only accept recommendations.
Bizarre, isn't it? What kind of commission get to choose the people who will serve them? They shouldn't even be choosers since the number of people who take the job is decreasing as time goes by, statistically speaking.
'The payment must be big. If I can get this stupid recommendation, I'll be rich in no time.' Nana mulls to herself. The recommendation itself isn't an issue, but who to ask for it is. Surely they won't accept someone from shady places, except if she has the money to do the talking. She doesn't, and it irks her.
A man dressed in red approaches her, asking if she needs some cash because he has a job for her. The way he looks at her is sickening as if she's a toy. Surely this person has never heard of her before. Nana, who is in no mood for anything at all and certainly wants to be left alone, slams his face down the floor so hard she swears she hears a horrifying crack. "Piss off."
That place is doomed. She regrets her decision to think that the cafeteria can at least become a haven. Grabbing her cloak, she takes her leave after paying her bills.
The open-air is quite chill, it wakes her up from the slight drowsiness. It helps a lot since she has to stay alert at all times. Lest someone suspicious approaches her, covered from top to bottom in back, asks for her name, knocks her out cold, robs her, and then kills her-
' Hmm? Wasn't that guy in the cafeteria just now? ' Nana takes a glance at her back as the said guy walks to her. She hears no footsteps at all, which is dubious.
Before she can say anything, she feels her head spinning. Her nose is picking up a familiar scent, though she can't remember where she smelled it, or what it belongs to. Her head is sending crazy signals for her to move, adrenaline rushing in to accommodate her. Nana tries to take a step, but as soon as she does she loses control of her legs. The blonde slumps to the ground, a hint of distress and anxiety is noticeable on her facade. "Wha..."
Nana tries to fight for her consciousness as she lays down on the cold stone path. She's unable to move her limbs as if she’s paralyzed.
"This is her, right?"
"Yeah. Daiba Nana. I told you we can find her here."
"I can't believe I did what you asked me to do."
"It works and it's harmless like you wanted it. So boring."
There are two of them, females, talking about her while she's phasing in and out of consciousness. The night is getting colder, making it hard for her to stay awake.
"I'm still against the idea, however gentle and good we're doing it." The speaker approaches her. Her footsteps sound heavy, so is her voice. The other one, her partner, scoffs.
"That's not my business. My business is to catch her alive and deliver her." Her voice is light but sharp. Her footsteps are definitely lighter but quiet, unlike the first stranger. Nana doesn't have time to think about regrets and listing the crimes she has done as darkness consumes her.
"She's asleep," the first stranger mutters, pulling Nana to a sitting position. She struggles as she hoists the blonde up in her arms due to their huge height difference. "And... Heavy!"
The second stranger giggles. "I'm sure this is a good workout for you. Daiba-han will surely not mind being used as a training weight."
Nana remembers passing out on the empty street, drugged by two strangers she has never seen before. She guesses that they will rob her and then kill her. But maybe they have other plans for her.
When she comes to her senses, she feels... Awful. Her head is heavy and she can feel the strong arrhythmic pounding in her head like a drumming palico. The loud banging and stomping noises above her are no help at all. her throat is dry, so are her lips. She feels so parched. How long has she been out? Her chest feels heavy, her stomach turns and churns. It is similar to waking up to bad motion sickness. She feels stiff, making her question how long she has been passing out. Her butt hurts a lot. How long has she been sitting on this wooden chair? Probably as long as she's been knocked out.
The blonde slowly cracks her eyes open. She feels both grateful and anxious for the dim light she's surrounded with. The air isn't suffocating, but she needs extra effort to breathe. It smells wet, cold, and dusty, like an old warehouse. Maybe she's in some sort of storage room, judging from the crates and barrels stacked around her.
Nana then shuts her eyes tightly. The air makes her eyes itchy, she wants to rub them badly. Nana tries to move an arm... But it gets stuck on her back. She tugs her wrist, and something keeps it in the place. Something heavy is clacking against a dull object. From the way it sounds, the blonde judges it to be metal going against wood. She knows that she's sitting on a wooden chair, so her hands are probably bound together with a cuff or some sort.
' ... Damnit .'
She tries to move her feet, and the result is similar to her hands. Can't move it, and something is preventing her from moving it. It's a good precaution for whoever takes her away, she gives them that. She stays in silence for a couple of moments, trying to clear up the fog in her mind and to calm herself down. She needs to focus, to get her hunting instinct on.
The previous stomping sound is back above her. Judging from the distance of the wooden ceiling and her position, there must be some sort of walking deck. There are other weird noises, like rumbles and swirling sands she can't pinpoint where. It's all around her. One thing is for sure, that the swirling noises are in tandem with the tremor she's feeling. Tremor might be an incorrect term to describe the rocking sensation. It leans more towards...
"... The sea?" Nana guesses.
"Yup. The sea."
Nana's head shoots up. In front of her stands a short girl. Her hands are fixed on her hips, her eyes on Nana. For someone short, this redhead has quite a build.
"We've been sailing for a day already. Glad that you're still alive."
Her nose picks up something. Other than salt and wood. Something pleasant and mouth-watering. Her stomach growls in response. Only then she realizes how hungry she is. Responding to the cry for food, the short girl reveals a basket of bread. She also brings a bag of water. "I assure you there's no poison in this food. If we want you dead, we could've killed you right when we saw you. But the boss has another plan for you."
"How can I trust you after how you treat me?" Nana growls. She doesn't have the energy to fight back, not even to at least sounds angry. That doesn't mean she won't fight. The short girl hums.
"I brought you food. If you're cooperative enough, I will feed it to you. The ride is still long, and we want you to be at least look alive when we arrive."
Nana's eyebrow twitches. Are they trying to sell her away? Does she become one of those trafficking victims?!
"Where are you bring me? Are you going to sell me?" The blonde hisses. The red-haired girl unscrews the cap from the water bag.
"We don't do that. Even if we are, then you'll be the first and last human we ever trade. Selling is not even the correct term in this condition, but I'm not allowed to elaborate further. Now, drink some water."
Nana hesitates to drink, even when the water bag's lip is right in front of hers. She doesn't have any reason to trust her or her words. But she's been dying to drink fresh water. She can feel herself phasing in and out again with every swing the ship makes.
So drinks she does. Gulping and downing everything in one go. Ah, she feels alive. Still feeling unenergized and weak, but alive.
"Do you mind to untie me?" She asks. She guesses that it won't happen, but she still needs to ask. Unfortunately, the girl shakes her head.
"Sorry, I can't do that. We can't let the famous huntress known for beating monsters and hunters around the ship. As much as you want to cooperate to get off the shackles, we have our doubts."
That makes sense. Nana shrugs. At least she tries.
"Some bread to fill you up for the time being," she says, before putting one on her mouth and some on her lap. It's just a piece of regular bread but tastes a few times better when she's starving.
"I suggest you rest again after your meal. It's evening, we won't dock and drop anchor until tomorrow."
After delivering her last work, the magenta-haired girl takes her leave. She will give her 3.5 out of 5 for her service. Polite, isn't afraid of her, and is efficient. She munches on her bread, wondering where she will end up if she's able to see the blue sky again. She herself has never traveled this far, spending days on the sea.
She's surprised that she is very calm taking all the information in, noting that her position currently is taken as a hostage or prisoner of some sort. There's just something that ticks the back of her mind, telling her that things are changing in a positive light. Still, it doesn't mean she should end up getting cuffed onto a wooden chair.
It means that they know who they're dealing with. News must have been traveling rather quickly about her being a ruthless huntress. They know that she can and won't hesitate to shed blood if she wants to, thus the restraints. They can just talk it out with her, but perhaps it is not efficient. Maybe they're running out of time and chooses to take her with them in this way. She won't know for sure until the issue is brought under the light.
She struggles a little to reach for the slices of bread on her lap, but manages to eat all of them. If the journey is still long like the redhead says, then sleeping it off is a good way to waste time. The rocking of the sea and the sound of the waves are slowly becoming her lullaby, and once again Nana rests.
This time she's waking up sore but better. The redhead is back with a key and the water bag.
"Okay so here's the deal," she starts. Nana watches her without much interest. "I'm gonna let you go from the chair, but bind your legs and hands together. If you're cooperating, then there will be no trouble and the business will end up quicker."
"And if I rebel?" Nana asks, yawning for a second before she continues. "What's the worse can happen?"
The girl scratches her head. "You might get bad injuries, and potentially will not be able to hunt for the rest of your life. I highly suggest you don't stir up troubles now."
Nana really wants to take it as a bluff, but this shorty is serious. She doesn't look like telling lies. It leans more towards a habit. As if she's been doing it countless times.
The redhead then carefully approaches her. She starts by uncuffing Nana's feet and then binds them together. It happens so quickly that Nana doesn't even have time to react.
'This shrimp is quick... But she's alone here,' she thinks to herself. Just because she gets the threat doesn't mean she won't fight. She can just surrender when things are getting out of hand.
Once she hears the clicking noise of her handcuff getting unlocked, she stands up and kicks the chair behind. The surprise attack hits the short girl hard. She can hear a loud crack, but she doesn't know if it's the girl or the chair. She almost feels bad for hurting her if not because she stands up, looking annoyed at Nana.
"I thought I've made myself clear about what happened if you resist." She growls.
Nana shrugs. "Show me that's it's not an empty threat."
Nana leans her head a little to the side, dodging a part of the chair hurled at her face. It hits the door with another loud bang. The redhead then throws quick punches at her, which she parries before coming up with counters. They're going at it for some time, with the short girl on offense and Nana on defense.
"You're not bad," Nana says as she ducks, narrowly avoiding a punch. The girl's punches are packed with power and accuracy, something Nana's been careful of forever since the start of the fight. She can see her strong arms, formed after rigorous training. The red-haired girl chuckles.
"You're not bad yourself. Those rumors are true," she replies. Nana jumps towards the short girl, hugging her waist and shoving her into the wall. She stumbles a little thanks to the chain on her ankles but regains her footing soon after. The short girl takes the opportunity to land a knee on Nana's stomach, hard.
"So I'm here... only because of rumors?" Nana grits her teeth in pain as her back is pounded by her opponent. She's can imagine her back getting all the bruises later. "Isn't... that risky?"
"Risky yeah," the girl answers before yelping in pain. Nana is punching her side. The red-haired girl's side is hard, proof of hours of training. "Gah! But an order is still an order-!"
Nana sees an opening and lands a solid kick on the redhead's sides. She kicks her so hard the force throws the short girl into the wall. This time Nana visibly winces. The girl slumps down, groaning in defeat.
"Damn... Ouch... It hurts," she hisses in pain. She leans towards a crate as she catches her breath.
Nana shrugs. Actually, she can take the chance to exit the room and flee. But if she's here, that means they're already docked. Nana doesn't know what kind of people are waiting for them upstairs, and she really doesn't want to become a disability huntress. "Let's just say that you're lucky I'm not in the mood."
The girl rises back on her feet, grumbling to herself with stuff like "this is going to bruise later", "she's going to make fun of me", and "I got my ass beaten real quick, this sucks" as she's back working on cuffing Nana. The blonde let her do her job. Their short brawl is the result of her boredom and good thing that the girl doesn't look like someone who loves to snitch. She's also considered lucky that she has no intention to bring harm. Either that or she's dumb enough not to bring a weapon with her.
"Alright. Let's go." The girl pats her shoulder twice, before pushing back her gently as a sign for her to move. It doesn't take long for Nana to be escorted out of the huge mercenary ship but it doesn't stop people from staring at her. She pretty much ignored everyone. Sometimes she shoots out some irritating scowls, scaring those who make eye contact with her.
When Nana gets off the ship, she's quite unsure whether she has done something bad or good. Why?
Simply because she has never seen such an... Advanced place. This new place the strangers bring her to is very sophisticated, great, and it's just anything she has never seen before in her life. This place is overflowing with all kinds of people. It's buzzing with activity and is alive, unlike her old gloomy place. Despite the usage of steam engines, the air is clean and easy to breathe in.
The building is made from metal and wood, a luxury for commoners. There's an elevator too, something Nana has heard about but never seen before. With all the new things presented in front of her, Nana feels small with how little she knows about the world. The world outside hunting and her sorry little old commission.
"I'm not the one in charge for briefing and speeches, but welcome aboard," the redhead says. The blonde doesn't understand what that means at all. What is she going to do with her? What does she want? Who are these people? Moreover, where is she exactly? Nana is escorted towards an open-air area, after the crowded docks. There's a lot of people there, surrounding a huge wooden table in the middle of the area. A rather mature lady dressed in black armor stands out from the most as she stands in the middle of the crowd, surrounded by people. She has this indescribable aura around her, thick with professionalism and authority. Something tells Nana not to mess with her if she wants to live.
The lady notices her presence. As soon as they lock eyes, Nana feels a chill jolting down her back. Her instinct is telling her to run, but her legs are rooted in place. the redhead takes some steps back. They're staring at each other for some time before the lady turns away. Only then Nana realizes that she has been holding her breath. The lady says something to the people around them, and they leave her alone in no time.
"My deepest apologies for the unpleasant commute. I wished that there could be a better way for us to personally meet and discuss various things, but we didn't have a good history when it comes to dealing with black commissions and their people," the lady begins. Her voice is light and sharp, urging Nana to pay close attention. "You are Daiba Nana, correct?"
Nana takes a deep breath. She's dealing with someone out of her league, someone she doesn't want to have trouble with. In this case, she will play it carefully. "Yes. I am Daiba Nana."
Nana earns an acknowledgment nod from the lady, which weirds Nana out. Do people do this often?
"Very well," she says before opening both arms. “Welcome to Seisho.”