|❝||in the latest midnight hours when the world has gone to sleep, you've gotta get up. when doubts begin to rise and the world is at your feet, you've gotta get up. reach, it's not as bad as it seems. i cleanse in the river for somebody else, for anyone but myself. i'm not a selfless man, i'm not a man of wealth.||❞|
In the Spooky Woods, nature had a habit of imposing unto you a form of fear most primal. To any sane man, this was not a leisurely walk like those common on the finest Sundays at the local park. Far from that, whatever Xiao Jing was currently indulging in appeared to more than just a slightly scarring and yet, still, the redhead hurries along unperturbed by the situation even as he was essentially a lone man whilst his exceed continues her slumber in peace. There wasn't room for worry when this forest turned out to be the equivalent of a cheap indie horror film in comparison to your hellish youth, anyway.
"It should be right around here...~"
Fixated on his mission, the redhead further approached the glowing blue light beyond a small clearing, as if the trees were purposefully bent back for ease of travel. Once there, his eyes are immediately filled with the grandeur of a portal lined with an ancient marble frame, where sprigs of what looked to be ivy plants crawled thickly over the structure. A part of him lamented over the fact that he didn't equip himself with the right tools to harvest the plants for some devious little experiments, though it was a short-lived feeling that he'd discard after having leapt through the portal in as little as a single breath.
He wasn't expecting much, yet it was hard to ignore the disappointment at how dismal his entry into the other world was. A second he'd have gone through the light with his enthusiasms rearing his energy into his legs, and the next moment he's smack-dab at the center of a camp that seemed to have seen better days.
"Sheesh, this place is a dump." he said.
"Well this dump," a voice echoed, "is what we've got left."
Hostility appeared scarce as the slayer eyed the figure to his right, where a ghastly pale face parted through tent folds with an oil lamp in tow. On face-value alone, Xiao Jing hazards a guess that he'd have several years ahead of him in regards to age, but not all that much that the redhead would have to practice formality in front of a senior. The camper clutched at the material of his tent in vehemence as he completely exposed himself to the outside world, his expression tightening in something that Jing could only picture as fear, and caution.
"...Another one of them huh?" the man's words were hesitant, but nonetheless concrete, "I'm afraid you have to turn back, we can't take care of you here."
Parallel to this stranger's were several more tents, and while it seemed he was confronted alone, Jing vaguely felt the scrutiny directed at his person from the other campers present. Strangely enough, the pairs of eyes that peeked through the folds of their tents choose not to intercept him personally, but continue to look on, resigning to the safety of their little make-shift shelters for reasons that the redhead decided at this point to be of trivial importance. What bothered them in a way that created the suffocating atmosphere in the first place was more than likely to be what Jing came here for.
The ginger waved a hand dismissively, "That's fine, I'm not here to stay."
"You're not?" asked the stranger, both eyebrows curving into his forehead, "...Are you saying you're going to...fight it?"
Personally, fighting were to be partial goal - for when you had a hunger insatiable by battle alone, satisfaction did not come until dominance be instigated and a single victor be determined. He liked winning, simply put, which meant he was more than set on killing the thing in as brutal a way as painfully possible.
His grinned jerked upward a tad, though he still poised some sort of decency in case he let his crazy slip. "To the best of my abilities sir." a single arm feels it way to his back, gripping Stormbinder by the handle as it sat across his waist holster. "I'll make sure the problem is over and done with."
The stranger across him further gave him more than just a judging stare, eyes narrowing seemingly as if he'd caught unto the redhead's intentions in full. Regardless, perhaps they too wanted to see an end to their predicament, and if this man, whom the slayer assumed to be their camp leader, did not pity the ones who cowered half-close to insanity from the trauma, then surely he wouldn't let Xiao Jing be as he did right then, offering a small, as if hopeful smile.
"Alright." he started, lowering his oil lamp as he gestured towards the path in the other direction, "Down that path...you'll probably encounter it as long as you continue following it. That, and some other things too."
Of course, he hadn't came unprepared in the event of the other monsters coming after his person. Naturally these predators would come hurling over to the next possible target to make of their meal this night, but that were not to bother him, if only because of his already generous excitement that throbbed inside his head, sending him forward into the deep, shadowy walkway.
"Thanks a bunch!" he said, tossing his gratitude across his shoulders. Not even a single, cursory glance was sent their way as he darted along the road without looking back - most likely they already pitied him, but he didn't need that, the thought of being looked down upon sickened him so.
Later, a small part of him became acutely aware of the padding of animal paws and the low, ominous growling from somewhere beyond the shrubbery. he'd toy with the pumpkin lantern that sat in his fingers, tossing it in listless breaths as he anticipated the enemies first move - graces first, of course, he was an uninvited guest, after all.
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