Monster Hunter: Monstergirl World @alleskeins
Gearing up Part 3

When I stepped outside, I didn't know what I expected. Maybe I was being too optimistic that things might get worked out because the first thing I saw when I left the bow of the ship… were Anja and Jaina standing apart from each other and wordlessly glaring at each other.

Anja stood by the door that I just came out of and Jaina stood by the set of tables that we've been eating on before. It might've been only a few feet between them but there might as well have been a canyon dividing them judging by their resistance to get any closer.

Apparently, Anja had been waiting on me, and judging by her expression she was not very pleased.

"What's with you two? Have you… talked already?"

Anja turned her head towards me, intentionally talking loudly so Jaina could hear. "Well I was willing to talk, but it is tradition amongst monsters that as a sign of respect, the monster that seeks to be forgiven has to step forward first and present a peace offering. I can overlook that offering, but she is being quite rude and doesn't seem to be willing to apologize!"

"I'M supposed to be apologetic?!" Jaina yelled from across the deck. Oh boy. "Over the last few years, you've almost KILLED me 3 times!"

"That's what you get for encroaching on someone else's turf. If you're not prepared for a fight then don't provoke one!"

"What was I supposed to do? You just spat your disgusting snot everywhere and claimed the places with the most food as 'your turf'!"

"It's called marking territory, you fat freeloader! You didn't earn the food, so you don't get any! It's that simple!"

"Other monsters were starving! If I didn't steal from you and shared it with the other smaller monsters who couldn't fight for themselves, they would've died! You stupid, ignorant, selfish bi…"

"GIRLS!" I screamed my lungs out to make sure both of them could even hear me over their yelling. I got in between them and interchangeably glared at each of them. "Jaina, come here. Same goes for you, Anja."

"But we were…" "But we were…" They rebutted in unison only to be quickly interrupted.

"Come… here… now!" I pointed at the floor left and right to me as I said each word with a strict, serious tone.

Like children preparing to be scolded, they reluctantly approached me, occasionally throwing blaming glances at each other.

Once the two of them were at my sides and faced each other, I could feel the unrelenting hostility between them even stronger.

"Now each of you, I don't care who starts. Apologize to each other."

"BUT…" "BUT…" They once again said in tandem. They could almost be like two sulking sisters.

"You've both done something wrong and until you both get this sorted out, we can't leave the past in the past. You've both promised to me that you would give it your all to make this work. Now make good on that promise."

I looked to my left. "Anja?"

No response. She basically gave Jaina the cold shoulder and ignored my call to action.

I looked to my right. "Jaina?" I kind of expected the resistance by Anja and turned to Jaina with a little more hope.

Jaina reacted in a way that I didn't expect though. Usually she was so cheerful and open but right there, I saw her struggling to compose herself and not lunge at Anja. Her claws were almost digging into her palm and she took deep breaths. She looked up at me, looking for help, but this was nothing I could help her with.

Her eyes sunk to the ground and she visibly had some sort of turmoil in her mind. Finally though, she lifted her head and, to my surprise, figuratively and literally swallowed her pride.

"Maybe I did okay?!"

Anja looked over her shoulder with at least the slightest bit of interest.

"Maybe I did something wrong. I had no right to take the food that you've earned yourself. I disrespected your space and your claim and I took something from you that I didn't earn. I'm sorry, okay! I was hungry and wasn't thinking straight. So were many other monsters in the forest. But just because we were hungry, doesn't make it right that we were stealing from you. I can't undo it, but I would if I could." She basically prostrated herself in front of her, only garnering a minimal reaction. Jain had genuine shame and guilt in her expression and I could see tears of strain in her eyes. "Please… believe me, I'm sorry. I don't want us to hate each other anymore."

When Jaina was pretty much crying, Anja finally turned around and looked her straight in the eyes. Jaina almost shrunk under her gaze but still managed to stand strong. She really had pushed herself to wring out this apology.

Looking down on her, Anja took a stance and nodded with a satisfied grin. "Good. I forgive you, Jaina."

Jaina looked a bit perplexed by the silence that followed after that brief acknowledgement. "A…and?"

"What do you mean? What are you expecting to hear?" Anja responded with no sign of remorse or intent to admit to doing anything wrong.

"Good?! That's all you have to say!?" Jaina almost screamed through her tears, making even Anja reel back in shock.

She returned to an unmoving stance and sternly spoke back. "Now listen here. This is where I stand: I've claimed a territory for myself, hunted for food on my own and fought off the PESKY intruders who tried to steal from me. Now I'm INTERESTED to hear you tell me, where I did anything wrong." Anja spoke through her teeth, grinding them in frustration and anger.

Jaina started choking, swallowing the tears that were inevitable to come. She shut her eyes and threw herself against me. She sobbed and her tears dripped down over the breast plate of my armor.

While Jaina couldn't utter another word in her defense, Anja looked on with an expression of contempt and… jealousy? She was visibly grinding her teeth and it took her immense effort to maintain her composure as she spoke up again. "And you… you're catering to her weakness and unruliness. If you keep pampering her and giving in to her childish behavior, she's not going to make it once we head back out there. She couldn't handle it before and if you don't train her right she won't be able to handle it now. She's…"

"Enough, Anja." I said in a calm yet resolute tone. She jerked back a bit at my response and reluctantly stopped another tirade of hers. "Maybe we need to solve this over time. Jaina, you okay?" I asked her as she wiped the last of her tears from underneath her eyes.

She hung her head a little, clinging to my chest as she answered with a stern, resolute tone. "I'm fine." Her gaze turned towards Anja in an angry yet somehow regretful glare. Anja looked back with almost just as much dislike, but somehow there was something beneath her anger. Maybe doubt or sadness but from her stoic expressions I couldn't tell.

I sighed and rubbed the back of my neck, unknowing what to do about this situation. "Anyways, you two know what we are planning to do soon. We're collecting data on the various monsters that live out in the Ancient Forest and beyond. For missions like those, since we don't know what to expect out there, it's usually the case that a whole squad of people heads out, meaning 4 people. An A-list hunter is going to join us soon and you two will complete the squad along with me. I need to know now, because as a team we need to at least trust each other on the most basic level. Will you be able to get through this without jumping at each other's throat?"

Anja and Jaina threw each other some mean glares but after a few seconds passed, they reluctantly nodded.

"You already know that I'm ready to do anything you say, Kalaydus!" Jaina exclaimed cheerily with a cute little salute which garnered an annoyed sigh from Anja who stepped forward as well.

"I have sworn an oath to you that my respect belongs to you. As long as you are my master, I will follow." Anja proclaimed proudly as she took a slight bow in front of me.

It seemed like the two girls were at least on board for now. Maybe over time things would cool down between them and they could at least get along.

A slight smile crossed my face although it was not entirely without doubt. Luckily, I wouldn't have to linger on this for too long, as I picked up a loud shriek heading towards the Gathering Hub.

Me, Jaina and Anja walked to the ledge of the deck, looking over the edge as a Mernos coming from Astera flew toward us.

It flapped its wings wildly to gain some altitude and I saw a bound scroll dangling around its neck. It was delivering us a message.

I knew that Mernos were trained to return to their place of origin as soon as possible, so I held up my hand, waiting for it to come closer.

It zoomed over my head as I gripped the paper, snapping the thin thread that tied it to the Mernos' harness. As soon as the wingdrake knew I had received its delivery, it headed right back down to the main camp.

The two girls looked at me expectantly as I unrolled the note.

"What does it say? Who sent this?" Jaina asked curiously as she peeked over my shoulder and even Anja seemed to have a peaked interest in it as she poked her head my way.

After reading it through, I let it roll back into its original form. "It's from the Commander. He says the 5th fleet will be arriving even sooner than we had expected. Supposedly, the ships had already been loaded and they set off as soon as they got the message from us. The note says that the hunters will probably want to use an arena for practice after their long journey. Apparently, we do have one, but it has barely been used by the hunters since most of them were out scouting the island and the recruits didn't have time for it yet. We're supposed to check it out and see if everything works as it should be or if anything needs to be replaced or repaired in preparation for the extensive use that it's gonna get soon."

"Well, we've got our orders. Think you can stay serious enough to do that?" Anja shot a glare towards Jaina, clearly trying to probe for a reaction.

"How about you? Think you can actually do some work instead of just badmouthing others for once?"

My god, they really were like feuding sisters. "Hey, hey! It's our first job as a team. It's a minor one, but please pull yourself together. The note said that the wingdrakes that are perched on the front of the ship should get us to this arena in no time. So, each of you, hold onto them and let's get going!"

Anja and Jaina sighed, letting go of their bickering for now. I knew it wouldn't last but at least for a few minutes they'd be far enough apart from each other to not cause a fight.

During the flight down into a valley that laid somewhere between the Ancient Forest and a desert region that I had no knowledge of, I took cautious glances at the other two flying passengers hanging from their drakes. Even though the drakes were in no rush to get to the arena, the two of them apparently constantly checked on each other to see who would be there faster.

It was crazy for me to think how they are so similar and competitive yet so hateful and opposed to each other. There had to be some way to get them to get along but I felt like there was something that held them back from that. At least one of them.

The drakes flew us towards a wooden platform at the edge of a wide open, spacious field of sand. This must've been it: The arena.

Palisades surrounded the field, keeping monsters as well as humans from escaping the battling grounds. And I wasn't the only one astonished by the sheer size of it.

"Woah, this is it? It's massive! So much space!"

"Well, some monsters are pretty big after all." I explained as I leaned over the ledge that led down into the pit. Nothing seemed to be out of place from up there, so I instead turned around and inspected a small hut that was on the back of the platform.

"So… you're fighting monsters here? Not against each other?" Anja asked with vested interest.

"Yes, the guild on occasion puts out missions to catch monsters alive and pits them against one to up to 4 hunters against them. It's all matched up though. We have something like High rank and Low rank to judge the danger of a monster depending on the skill of the hunter or hunters. There used to be another level called G-rank back where I came from but apparently, we haven't discovered monsters of that danger level here. At least as of now. It's actually kind of exciting to think about it."

"I see…" Anja seemed genuinely amazed by what I was saying. Her gaze wandered over the large field, her arms crossed and looking at every detail with a critical eye.

I curiously turned around to her. "You're interested in it?"

She nodded in deep thought. "I suppose I'm just still surprised you manage to even put a dent in a monster like me. Even with 4 people at once, you're so small and so vulnerable. One strong hit and you could be crushed."

I walked up to her and chuckled. "Heh, the trick is not to get hit. But not only that. Exactly because of that vulnerability, we have to use all the tools that are available to us. Aerial advantage, blind spots, bombs, our weapons but the most important factor in fighting a monster… is skill and caution. You need to know when to strike and when to back away because if one of your attacks back then had hit me… well… it'd have been over for me. Even armor like the one I made out of your scales only gives me a slightly bigger window for errors."

Anja nodded along with my speech, deeply taking in what I'm saying. A little bit of guilt seemed to form on her face. "Aren't you angry?"

"About what?"

"Me almost killing you back then? Jaina sure doesn't seem to be able to forgive me."

"It's just what monsters and hunters have always done. Trying to kill each other. It's just the way things are…" I took a small glance over at Jaina who was dangling her feet over the edge of the sandpit, humming to herself. Anja followed my gaze and frowned a little bit as I started smiling. But I interrupted her sour expression as I continued speaking. "…but you know… now that we have this new option. To turn a monster into what you, me and Jaina are… it opens a lot more doors than we might be able to imagine. We don't have to kill each other or steal food anymore. Maybe we can learn, live together… become friends." I halted a bit before I ended my sentence with an almost solemn tone as Anja's eyes met mine. Her eyes turned from looking at me, towards Jaina and slowly back to me. Her mouth was hanging slightly agape as I quietly gave her a small, inviting smile.

I could see the pink rising in her cheeks as she forcefully pulled her gaze away from me. It might have been because she thought that I was going to… mess with her again or that she was still reluctant to let any of this sink in but nevertheless she seemed hesitant to let me get close to her.

We stood there for a few seconds without uttering a word, looking at each other mostly with sideways glances as either of us seemed to have a lot on our minds.

I rubbed my neck and announced loudly enough for Jaina to hear it as well. "Umm… since we're already on the topic of fighting, there's actually something I wanted to show you both. I found something in the little hut back here that I needed to introduce you to anyways." I waved them closer as I disappeared in the darker backside of the hut. The walls were lined with racks filled with all types of weaponry. They were the standard steel variety of every type, from gunlance to insect glaive.

The girls' eyes were glistening over the impressive display and closely examined the fine craftsmanship.

I looked over them and announced "I can hardly expect you to fight bare-handed now, can I? These weapons are free for the taking. Pick out whichever one appeals to you the most."

"Why are we allowed to take these without paying for them?" Jaina inquired.

I chuckled a little. "Well, everyone gets their first weapon without charge because they count on you wanting to upgrade them more and more to make them better and better. These are the standard versions, but over time people figure out that they're still not doing enough damage, so they pay the smithy to make them stronger and stronger."

Jaina's eyes sparkled and she was like a child in a toy store looking over all these options she had. Anja examined the weapons too but with a way more skeptical eye than Jaina was. Then again, I think Jaina didn't much care for effectiveness or fighting styles. She seemingly went by which one would look the most amazing.

Anja was suddenly in an uproar as she apparently found what she was looking for. "This one!"

I was a bit flabbergasted as I saw her stomping towards me with a massive freaking hammer in her hand. It was basically a steel boulder attached to a long handle. "Woah…"

"What?"

I chuckled a bit. "Well, I kind of didn't expect you to choose something to heavy. I mean I don't think I can even lift that, let alone swing it."

"Ohhh… so what is this? How do you use it?"

I approached her and pointed out the parts of her chosen weapon. "This is called a Hammer. It should be obvious, but the reason why this thing is so heavy, is the end of it. It's your center of gravity and if you build up enough speed, you're gonna get a hell of a hit in on your target." I laid my hands over her claws on the handle as I adjusted them to be further apart.

But this little touch actually made her blush and smile instead of getting her to pay attention. It actually made me smiled myself and with the hammer between us, there wasn't much distance between our faces either.

I cleared my throat as I sheepishly backed away from her. "I'm… still surprised you would choose this one. It's the second heaviest weapon type in the hunter's arsenal."

"Is that… a bad thing?" She asked cautiously with a cute little pout.

I laughed at her and affectionately ruffled her hair a little, eliciting a great beaming smile from her. "You can choose whatever weapon you want, Jaina. If you like this one, you can keep it." My hand glided over her slightly coarse hair as she released little, cheerful squeaks.

"AHEM!" My hand jerked away from Jaina as I heard a loud rattling behind me. Turning around, I saw Anja by the racks, her fist slammed into the top of one of them and a grimace of annoyance on her face.

The moment I looked at her though and got away from Jaina, she straightened herself up and asked earnestly. "So, if this is the second heaviest type… what's the heaviest weapon you humans use?" I could see her throwing a competitive, challenging glare towards Jaina which she returned by dejectedly holding her hammer close to her body and sulking.

I sighed in slight annoyance that they just couldn't let go of their rivalry but I decided to still instruct Anja without saying anything. "There is only one weapon heavier than the hammer. It would be this one." I reached for the weapon I was motioning towards: a steel greatsword and pulled it from the rack. I couldn't fully lift it up and had to drag it across the floor to hand it to Anja. "Nghhaaa…" I groaned as I set it down only for Anja to pick it up with both of her claws. Although it seemed to require some effort, she managed to lift it and hold it in front of her without much of a problem. Her slender arms certainly betrayed the strength that was behind them.

"This one's a greatsword. Not only does it weigh the most, but it also packs even more of a punch than any other weapon in the arsenal. You have to be very deliberate and well-timed in your attacks if you want to use this weapon, but if you learn how to do it, you can slice anything with that thing."

Anja grinned proudly as she dragged her claw along the massive blade. It was like a flattened bar of steel with one sharpened and one dull edge. Effectively a buster sword.

I clapped my hands, ready to get stuff done. "Well, that's weapons taken care of. We still need to check the inside of the arena and…"

"Hey…" To my surprise, it was Anja who interrupted me.

"Uhh… yeah, Anja?"

She stood there with her sword still in hand, fidgeting a little and avoiding eye contact. "Is… am I gripping this weapon the right way?"

"Are you holding…" I checked on her and upon coming closer, I could see no reason to correct anything. Her grip was firm and at the right distance between her hands. "…yes, as far as I can see you've figured it out already. Nice and tight."

"So… you don't have anything to adjust?" She looked like she was expecting something, facing me and reluctantly looking me in the eyes before blushing, shutting her eyes and shaking her head. "G…good." She said with dejected, suppressed disappointment.

"Are you…"

"I'm fine!" She spoke through her teeth as she put her sword on her back and brushed past me. Her face was red as a tomato which I could see despite all of her attempts to hide it. "You said we still had to go inside, right? Let's get going then." Without turning back, she jumped off the ledge into the sandpit and left me and Jaina behind.

I didn't know how I should feel about her reaction but I brushed it off for now. There was work to be done. "Jaina, are you coming?" I signaled her to follow me but she waved me off.

"Hehe, I don't think I'd be much use down there. I don't really have a good eye for details like cracks or anything. I'll stay up here and enjoy the view a little. Is that… okay?" She asked with a sheepish, adorable smile looking for permission.

I gave a short chuckle "Alright, keep an eye on the Mernos then. We're gonna need them to pull us out of the pit later. Shouldn't take longer than a few minutes."

Jaina gave a devoted smile and returned to sitting on the ledge and dangling her feet as I entered the pit.

As my feet hit the sand, I noticed for the first time how high these palisades actually are. They loomed over me like towers, preventing anything from leaving the fight zone.

Anja stood in the middle of the large field, her back turned towards me. She didn't seem to inspect anything or having her focus set on anything either. She was just standing there.

I approached her from behind and tried to call out to her. "Hey, everything alright with you? You're looking a bit… lost." My words slowed down as I came closer. Her fists were clenched and she seemed to struggle with something. She was shaking and I could see tears glistening on the side of her face.

I carefully walked up to her, talking as softly as I could. "If… if something was the matter, you could've told me, you know."

"Told you?... You wouldn't even begin to understand, master."

"I could if you'd just let me. You're not alone anymore. I can help you."

"I've noticed that I'm not alone anymore. I've also noticed that I'm not on top anymore. I have no control over things. Everything is strange to me. This camp, this team… these feelings. I don't know anything anymore. And then there's you making me feel these strange things." She started sobbing, clutching her fist to her heart. The stream of tears was getting stronger and stronger.

I solemnly walked up to her, making her twitch as I laid my warm hand on her shoulder. The sobbing stopped as she looked over her shoulder. Words didn't mean anything at this point. I just stood by her side and carefully moved my hand from her shoulder to her cheek to rub her tears with my flat thumb.

I shot her a gentle smile to which she reacted with a quivering lip and flushed cheeks. "I won't leave you in the confusion, Anja. I'll be there for you every step of the way."

Her breath quickened and her expression softened a little. Our eyes met as I combed the hair from her covered one and they were still as pretty as ever.

Anja laid her hand upon mine and gently cupped it with her claw. "It feels so warm." She whispered to herself.

Her eyes wandered over my shoulder, looking at Jaina. The second she laid eyes on her, her breathing quickened even more, to threatening levels.

"But it's not real. You're just toying with me!" My hand, which she held so gently before, was suddenly ripped from her face and she used it to throw me away from her with unexpected force. I managed to land on my feet a short length away from her and grinded to a halt.

I was face to face with Anja as she pulled the greatsword from her back and her tears started to well up once more.

In the distance, I could hear Jaina call out in shock from the platform. "Kalaydus!"

"You don't really care for me. No one ever does." Anja said weakly as she readied her sword.

"Even you don't… master."

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Woof, this was intense.

This concludes the 3-chapter arc and man what a finale, huh? I'll do some arcs in the future like that if any situation lends itself well to it. Like a multi chapter hunt for example. Though I don't know yet if I'm gonna stretch the hunts out that long. After all, you want to get new monsters coming in as quickly as possible, right?

Anyways, the next one is going to be very heavy set on fighting, so be ready for that and don't worry, it'll get more light hearted later on as well.

For now, thank you for reading and PLEASE leave a review of what you thought about this arc, it would mean the world to me to get your input. Any suggestions or opinions are welcome and help me determine what you want to see in the future. Also follow and favorite if you haven't already and have a good day.

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Off to the New World 1570 0 0 2. The weapon of your choice 2767 0 0 3. Survival of the fittest 2470 0 0 4. A rough night 3092 0 0 5. Keep your enemies closer 3631 0 0 6. The search for shelter 2999 0 0 7. Ready as I'll ever be 3865 0 0 8. Frenemies 6271 0 0 9. Irreplacable 6251 0 0 10. Keep on keeping on 4520 0 0 11. Back to square one 4180 0 0 12. Past and future problems 3959 0 0 13. Gearing up Part 1 4603 0 0 14. (Broken chapter) 12 0 0 15. Gearing up Part 2 5279 0 0 16. Gearing up Part 3 4514 0 0 17. Finally (Outdated Update) 165 0 0 18. Wants and Needs 3239 0 0 19. Hindsight 4260 0 0 20. Team Excercise 3841 0 0 21. Important announcement! (Update) 226 0 0 22. The new hunter 5558 0 0 23. Tobi Kadachi 3831 0 0 24. So 147 0 0 25. It's been a fun ride 129 0 0 26. Moving forward 92 0 0