In the world that once was, a first day on the job for me would have meant getting used to the awkwardness of new office space and getting used to a new computer console, and the accompanying A.I. assistants.
In this strange, new, somewhat broken Agartha, my first day on the job, involved me being kicked through a building.
An entire building.
I was sent flying through a wall, and then through several support beams. I heard things breaking and couldn’t tell whether it was happening inside me, or all around me. From the amount of pain I was in I didn’t need the archive to be able to tell that the answer was probably more a mixture than both, rather than it being either one or the other.
I landed on the street outside the building, listening to the thunderous roar that followed as part of the ancient building collapsed. Its age ensuring that a partial collapse would lead to the rest of the building going down.
Fortunately, it didn’t fall on me.
Something else fell on me instead, a pickup truck sized mound of spiked fur, horns, hooves, and fury.
Things had been going so well, I’d even managed to make my first kill as a hunter. The beast had been some kind of magically altered wild boar. Built as a big as a small car.
After joining the hunter’s association and setting myself up in an apartment building in the wastes, that I’d used my magics to restore and ward, I’d finally mustered up the courage to go on a hunt,
As for why, I’d felt the need to go on a hunt, it was because; it felt like thing to do. As for why it felt like the thing to do. Well, for that, I’ll just have to admit to having a mild fixation on the idea of normality.
Mom ran away with the circus. (At least that’s what Dad said.)
Dad was part of some kind of demonic sex cult. By the time social services showed up I was kind of fucked as kid and foster care didn’t really help that. As by then the Tri-American Union was already balls deep in several small wars that were looking like they were going to build themselves into one big global one. Meaning they didn’t really have the time, leeway, resources to be arsed when it came to checking whether their social safety nets were working properly.
I’m not complaining. I got through alive and with a college diploma. The only drugs I was hooked on were anti-anxiety meds. The point is being normal, having a normal guy routine was something that was very important to me.
And normal now, for your average Agarthan, was either killing things as a soldier in an army, killing things as a cultivator in a sect, killing things as a Sorcerer in a Sorcerer’s Circle or College, killing things as hunter in the wastes, or being killed as a poor itinerant dirt farmer or townsperson.
I would have been a townsperson and gotten some of the world’s more normal job, but those seemed to all involve bowing and scraping to super powered levellers and inevitably either dying randomly or having your daughter whisked away.
(I know I said things were getting better, and society was recovering, but your average Agarthan was still dead by fifty and that was only if they were lucky.)
As for the other options being a hunter was the only one that didn’t make PK into a necessary part of the work day.
I wasn’t a Saint, but neither was I a monster, thus if I could live without “having” to kill people I would try to.
Besides in my head the Hunter’s Association was synonymous with the Adventurer’s guilds that one would often find in games. And as a gamer, there was a real romance to that that appealed to me.
Now here I was getting my ass handed to me, by a truck sized mother, of the car-sized baby boar that I’d killed as part my first “successful” hunt.