The Hunters Volume One: The Beginning
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They've kept the world safe for centuries. Working from the shadows, culling the numbers of those who might threaten humanity. Now asked to work alongside the very ones they used to call prey, will they find middle ground for peaceful coexistence? Or will the ever increasing forces of darkness use this opportunity to achieve their aims? The Hunters Volume One: The Beginning is the first book in The Hunters Series. The series revolves around werewolves, vampires and witches as they attempt to learn to coexist with each other within the borders of a normal human college while still finding ways to deal with enemies who seek their own goals.
Starlight Central Academy was the biggest institution in Starlight Bay. Situated at the northern edge of the city, the university covered so much ground that it extended into the surrounding woodlands. The reputation of the school was top notch. Being the only higher institution in the entire city ensured a good portion of the city taxes made it to its coffers. That resulted in the school becoming one of the most sophisticated academies in the entire state, despite being a bit populated. The latter was an issue solved by the school management's decision to build mega dormitories on the annexed forestland. These giant buildings were designed to house hundreds of students comfortably within rooms spacious enough for the inhabitants.
There were other buildings in the school just as big as the dorms. Most of them were laboratories and workshops where practical classes were held. Lecture halls dominated an entire section of the school, their sizes fit to hold large numbers of students at once. There were other facilities in the area as well; a pseudo hospital had been built to provide hands-on experience for medical students, as well as a church and several mundane stores. The place was basically a mini town on its own.
The fall semester had just begun and returning students filled the courtyards and leisure spots, relishing in the time they had before classes started. New students could easily be differentiated from the old ones; they seemed a bit lost and unsure in their new environment. At least that was the case for some of them. Several newcomers had arrived earlier in close groups and unlike the rest of their peers, they acted like they knew exactly where they were and what they were here for.
A sleek black convertible streamed down the tarred roads leading to the center of the school and came to a rest in a parking lot designated for students. The driver spent a moment to admire her reflection in the car's side view mirror, giving herself a complimentary wink before shutting down the engine.
"Alright boys, get out of my car. You're stinking it up already."
"Can it Jade," Lee retorted, a somewhat sour look on his face as he exited from the car and looked around. "Still can't believe we're doing this..."
Olivia joined him and nudged his arm playfully. "Don't be like that. It'll be fun."
"Of course you'd be so hyped up about this," he said, giving her a dry look that soon turned into a small smile when she pouted at his comment.
Michael looked at Jade from his spot in the passenger's seat. "I seriously don't get why you had to dress up like this."
She shot him an amused look from behind her designer sunglasses. "Hey, I don't care about who we're meeting. But I don't intend to appear less than my best no matter where I go. So yeah, this was a necessity."
Her all black ensemble looked like it belonged inside a high fashion magazine. Coupled with her looks, anyone who did not know her could mistake her for a model. Michael raised an eyebrow as he gave her a once-over. Then he just sighed and got down from the car.
After locking the vehicle, Jade came to join them as they surveyed the sight before them. Michael in particular felt some of the tension in his chest dissipate as he watched the mundane lives of the people before him. This was what he fought for, what they fought for. No matter what happened, he would never compromise his priorities. This would just be an attempt to see if more deaths could be avoided in the execution of their duties.
"Well we're here," Lee spoke up. "What now?"
Michael turned questioningly to Dean, prompting the broody youth to speak.
"I sense numerous magical signatures concentrated in that direction."
"Then that's where we're headed," Jade said decisively and put her sunglasses in her jacket. "Let's go."
The walk was spent in silence as they inspected their new surroundings. Jade in particular paid special attention to the male population, her dark eyes committing the finer specimens to memory. Michael noticed this but took no action in response. He was their leader, not their parent. As close as they were, each of them still had their individual personalities. What they did in their private time was none of his business.
Dean's low voice filtered into his ears quietly under the background noise. "Michael, we have a problem."
His eyes narrowed immediately and he discreetly fell in step with Dean to avoid the others overhearing them.
"What is it?"
"These students, some of them have been cursed."
Dean shook his head lightly, his face set in a near invisible frown. "No. The magic feels more corrupted. Tainted."
His words made Michael scowl. Dean was particularly skilled in detecting the auras given off by magic in any form. If he could sense tainted magic here, that meant something was definitely not right.
"I understand. We'll let the others know later. Try to detect as much cursed people as you can in the mean time. I want us to keep a low profile until we're settled in. But if you sense anyone in grave danger, let me know immediately."
Dean gave him a small nod and they separated. Michael moved on to catch up to the others while Dean remained behind to get started on his new task.
The locus of the magical signatures was a large dome capped building. There was a sign in front of it which Michael spared a glance: Lecture Hall for the Department of Parapsychology.
"How fitting," he murmured under his breath and strode forward towards the entrance, the rest of his team not far behind. Inside the building was just as entrancing as the outside. The main lobby occupied most of the ground floor. The walls were covered in shiny gold paint that gave the place a nice glow. Several arcane symbols had been carved into the polished marble floor. It seemed purely aesthetic from a neutral point of view, but the low but steady pulsing of magic emanating from the signs was easily detected by the group of five.
There was no one in the lobby strange enough. Keeping his senses primed for any sign of danger, Michael led his team up the archaic yet fancy spiraled staircase up to the first floor where Dean had mentioned as the greatest concentration of magical signatures.
As they moved through the similarly empty hallways, the sound of rowdy young men and women drifted towards them. Following the noise back to its origin, they came upon a double door entrance. The doors were made of hardwood and Michael could tell they had been magically reinforced. He could also feel the amount of diverse magical presences beyond the doors. There were so many of them that he was having a bit of difficulty restraining his instincts to just get in there and murder all of them. Taking a small breath, he released a steady output of his own magical energy to counter the irritating feeling and pushed open the doors.
A second later, he nearly regretted that action. As soon as he stepped inside, the feeling intensified massively and triggered an inbuilt defensive measure he had developed over years of fighting multiple magic wielding enemies. The buzz of the crowd died a rapid death as an invisible yet oppressive wave of his magic rippled out from him. The lecture hall had been designed in typical university fashion, the seats rising up backwards up to the highest corridor. The size of the room allowed the people in it some space between each other. But there was a clear demarcation between two groups on the seats, leaving several columns of seats empty to separate them.
The group on the right side of the hall were similar in some ways. They were immensely gifted in the looks department with a few standing out amongst others. All of them had pale skin that although did not look normal, added to their almost unnatural beauty. The common hair color was black, but there were a few blondes and redheads within them. The entire group seemed to simply radiate mystery, the kind that was dangerous yet incredibly addictive. The most noticeable feature among them however, was their eyes; each and every single one of them possessed blood red eyes. The fact that those same eyes were being used to send glares at the people opposite them showed their active annoyance at being in the same place with them.
On the left side of the hall, the situation had been completely inverted. There were no similarities, leaving the group a motley of personalities different in their own ways. Unlike the other group, these people were actively interacting with each other. Some were trying to strike up a new friendship while the others displayed magical displays to impress those around them.
It was this group that was the first to feel it. An unpleasant feeling of emptiness washed over them, sending nasty chills up their spines. What was even more startling was the disappearance of every form of magic that had been active when the feeling came. A few of them tried to cast again to no avail. The first set of people to trace the source of the wave gasped in shock, followed by more and more people until the entire hall was watching the five individuals standing in the doorway.
Michael swept the whole room with his eyes, slightly scaring some of the people his gaze fell upon. The frightened ones could not be faulted for their fear. It was only natural to be wary of one's mortal enemy, especially when said enemy had been looking at you like you were a piece of prime beef.
He felt someone poke his side and when he turned, he met Olivia giving him a slight glare.
"Stop that. You're scaring them," she chastised.
Lee scoffed lightly. "They should be scared-hey! That hurt!"
Olivia turned her glare on him, her finger digging deeper into his side. He held her gaze for a grand total of two seconds before caving into her unspoken demand.
"Turn down the scare factor before some of these kids have a heart attack," he said to his leader.
Michael did not respond until Jade gave him a look that although was nothing special, it had him withdrawing his magic. As soon as the oppressive atmosp
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