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In a small house in the Cathedral Ward sat a young lady. She was about to run out of incense. That sweet smell always put an invisible screen between people and beasts. Beasts were very sensitive to smell and that incense had a scent that repulsed beasts. None would dare approach a house where a human lives unless there is no incense burning outside.
This was how Yharnamites lived during nights of the hunt. They wouldn’t dare leave or open their doors to anyone. In a sense they would live a lonely night if there was n.o.body to keep them company. Most people lose their patience and leave their houses. They would naturally disappear without a trace.
It is unknown why a radical person would leave their house on a night of the hunt. All a person needs to do is patiently wait for dawn to break and they’d resume their daily life. This hunt was special though. The night seemed to go on forever. People inside their houses started feeling that after they began going dangerously low on incense. If they didn’t leave their house, then the beasts will ultimately find them.
The young woman sat on a chair and sighed. She knew that leaving wasn’t an option for her. She couldn’t fight or run faster than those monsters. She feared the monsters outside. That fear developed overtime as she developed a new habit. The night seemed to go on forever to her too. So in order to kill time, she’d go next to the house’s door and listen to what’s happening outside.
She wouldn’t dare show her face through the windows. She was too afraid of being spotted by a beast. She knew in her heart that beasts wouldn’t come close to the house as long as the incense burned. However, she couldn’t trust burnt herbs with her life. Every time she got close to the door to listen in on the outside world, she’d pray that the street would be silent. She’d pray that the screams and wails outside would stop.
She heard of the hunters that come at night to slay the beasts. She’d even met some before. During the day, they’d roam the streets and show their might to the people around them. Some even hid in plain sight and acted as though they were ordinary. However, this young woman knew something about hunters that others didn’t.
Like the beasts in the streets, she was very sensitive to smell. Hunters had a certain queer smell to them. She couldn’t give it a description. It was a feeling that couldn’t be described with words. Whenever a hunter pa.s.sed by her in the street, she would be submerged in different kinds of sensations.
For people with keen sense of smell, they often a.s.sociate experiences with some scents. The young lady always had this experience when pa.s.sing by a hunter. She’d take in their special scent and experience different types of feelings.
The most vivid one was that of fury. There were other sensations that she could discern from the countless ones that submerged her consciousness. Sometimes she’d feel some calmness, others she’d actually smell something familiar. It was the smell of dirt after it had just rained. Crossing a hunter in the street was always a unique experience for her. On this night, she hadn’t smelled the presence of a hunter in a very long time.
‘Tonight’s hunt is long… I don’t know how much I can survive here. It feels like days have pa.s.sed but it’s just got dark outside. What exactly is going on in this city?’ As she got up to check on the door again, she thought about her chances of survival. The more she thought, the more desperate she became. Outside, she could clearly hear the beasts’ growls getting louder and louder.
‘They’re becoming bolder! They must’ve noticed that the hunters have disappeared as well. Since that incident in Central Yharnam, hunters started dispersing and disappearing. Are we left no choice but wait for the monsters to devour us?’
As she stood next to the door, she extended her head and her left ear was glued to the door. She had gotten used to the sounds outside. Footsteps echoed in the distance as something patrolled the street next to her house.
That street led directly towards the central plaza of the Cathedral Ward. If she could get there, she would have a chance of reaching the Great Cathedral. She was sure that she’d find protection in the Great Cathedral, but she was too afraid of stepping outside. The growls she used to hear in the distance got closer every time she came to the door.
The fear in her heart grew bigger and bigger. Humans are mostly afraid of the unknown. As she couldn’t bring herself to sneak a peek from the window, she couldn’t possibly know what was getting close to her. In fact, it was because of the recent habit she’d picked up that the beast outside was getting closer. Every time she went to the door, the beast would smell prey.
After continually smelling that, the beast got closer to the place. If the young lady ran out of incense, she’d immediately be at the beast’s mercy. The footsteps in the distance stopped and a ‘thud’ was heard in the distance. The other beast that was approaching her house let out a deafening scream then ran towards the source of the commotion.
Soon after, the woman heard footsteps approaching her house. The smell hit her nostrils first and sense of loneliness submerged her entire soul. Sadness engulfed her and she couldn’t help but shiver. After the initial shock, she regained her composure. A soft knock on her door brought her back to land of horrors and nightmare. She knew a hunter was on the other side of the door.
“Oh my, what a queer scent! But I’d take it over the stench of blood and beasts any day. What is it you want?” Arianna wasn’t the kind to speak gently to anyone. In her line of work, she had to be blunt with any stranger. Only after closing the deal would she soften up and take on the role her clients usually wanted her to.
A man’s voice came from the other side: “Do you know of the road to Byrgenwerth?” The man didn’t mince words either. He was straight to the point. “I’m off during hunts, if that’s what you’re here for, I’ll leave you to your own devices.” Nothing irritated Arianna like hunters seeking her services during the hunt. In fact hunters used Byrgenwerth as a code to let a wh.o.r.e know which order they came from.
If they used that word, no woman in the city had any right to refuse them. But Arianna’s status in the city was different. As she seemed to have a special scent for hunters, they also had a special liking to her. Not only did they love f.u.c.king her, they also loved the taste of her blood. She had been running a peaceful business under their wing. She was never mistaken for a common prost.i.tute, and she dealt exclusively with the hunters. She even had their protection. If she refused some common hunter, no one would come ask for an explanation.
“Eh?!” Surgit was taken aback. “I’m not here for that… Forget it.” He took a step to leave the place when the woman’s soft voice reached his ears: “If your own devices don’t satisfy you much, come back in the morning!” The woman let out a chuckle then said in a flirtatious tone: “Darling…”
Surgit was puzzled. ‘Who would’ve thought that I would meet someone capable of making jokes when the city is swarmed with beasts?’ Surgit looked at the door and shouted. “I’m not here for that! Now do you know where I can access those d.a.m.ned woods or not? I’m in no mood to be teased now.”
Arianna was greatly surprised by this man’s answer. ‘He must be an outsider really seeking those cursed woods. The poor thing must be clueless.’ She cleared her throat then spoke. “I can tell you where it is but, do you know of any safe place? The night is long, and I’ve very little incense left…” She hoped that this outsider would have some chivalrous spirit.
If it was a local hunter, she would’ve immediately rejected him and got back inside her house. She’d rather die to the beasts than ask those despicable hunters to help. Although they provided her with protection and a stable income, she hated them and the craze they developed for her blood. But this one was an outsider. He probably didn’t know anything related to Yharnam and its deep secrets.
“Oedon Chapel is your safe place,” the young man answered. “I’m afraid the streets are too dangerous for you right now. Come out and I’ll escort you there myself. Once we’re in the chapel, you can tell me about the road to the woods.” After hearing this, Arianna was ecstatic. ‘Not only is this hunter willing to help, he’s a gentleman at that! Yharnamites should learn something from this hunter.’
“Oh thank you darling! Let me grab some things, I’ll be right with you.” Arianna was about to go fetch her things before the man spoke again. “You do that and wait for my signal. I’ll go clean the streets.” With that the man’s footsteps echoed in the distance. Arianna sat there and waited for her gentleman to come back and take her to safety.
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