At the southern end of Masuli, facing the western sea, a small islet protruded off of the coast. This small islet was the one on which Ubu had lowered the Ark, after Event Zero. It was the sacred place of the cult of Ubu, and access to the holy city was heavily restricted. Around the border of the city, a large slum had accumulated, populated by followers hoping to one day be granted access to the city.
Melissa and Jhin were approaching the slum. They could see it from afar, smells of trash, oils, frying, food, people, sweat, piss. It was filled with people, and with shops. Some selled food, others raw produce, others fabric and clothes.
They got further and further inside the makeshift city, and eventually they reached the center. Or at least, the closest point to it. A tall metallic fence topped off with black spears surrounded a forest. On the other side, the forest was dense. Just a few meters away and the visibility was completely blocked off.
They went around the fence, and reached the gate. As they tried to go through, two men in rusty armor holding rusted spears appeared. "And where do you think you're going ? To get through you'll have to pay us." Something from far away in the forest arrived. "No, seriously, everyone here wants to enter but you can't come in unless you pay. Ubu needs your money, you know."
An angel appeared. "WE HAVE TOLERATED YOU LONG ENOUGH, GATE DWELLERS. YOU WILL CEASE YOUR FAKE DUTIES." The man fell to the ground, and the angel, in a single slice of the black sword it bore, cut the sword and the man's arm in half in the length.
While the angel was busy butchering the man, Melissa and Jhin hurried inside.
The forest itself was dark and grim. While the forest they had landed in was dense, it was still light enough, like a forest that didn't hate you. A forest that tolerated you. No, this forest was trying to make you trip, to hurt you. It grew around you, suffocating you in its pride.
Along the path, sometimes ruins peaked out of the growth. Some belonged probably to habitations, others probably to religious edifices. All had been built in white stone, and their intricate carvings had been rubbed off by time.
They felt watched. In the dark vegetation, hiding spots from which you could spy were plenty. They kept watch, but everytime they investigated a rustle, it was always a bird or small animal. They advanced carefully, feeling like prey.
The forest was thinning out. They weren't out yet, but didn't have a long time to go. Behind them, they heard a noise. They turned around suddenly, and except for a fugitive shadow saw nothing. They went back to where the shadow had been. Again, a noise behind them. And again, a fugitive shadow. Whatever was watching them was playing, like a cat with a mouse.
Jhin stayed in place while Melissa went to investigate. The dark shadow appeared in between the two of them. It was a figure like a black wolf, save for its head, which was shaped like a rifle. Its long, stringy tail ended with a reticle. It quickly assumed a battle position and shot toward Jhin. Deicide quickly jumped from his back to the front and blocked the shot.
Melissa ran to the wolf, but it had already disappeared. She looked around. The wolf could be everywhere. Leaves rustled, foliage shook. Anxious, she spoke. "Who are you ?" The wolf had to be an ideal.
"Me ? Teeheehee. Oh you. Of course you wouldn't know. You haven't searched anything about your foes ?" The voice, a playful, kind of condescending voice, had come from everywhere around. Melissa shook her head. "Then I'll tell you ! teeheehee...
"Just after Ubu's ark landed, the followers tried to start rebuilding. But they were so laughably weak and ridiculous that I came forward. I'm the hunter, Ideal of the hunt. I agreed for Ubu to vassalize me. Ubu also made two other entities that built shelter and grew crops.
"We're not needed anymore tho. The two others have gone dormant in this forest but I'm still around. I don't really care what you do too. As long as you don't destroy the capital. So with that, peace~~"
The voice had stopped. The rustling stopped as well, and for what it meant, the forest was a bit kinder.