Foreword In the forbidden Ardan forest on the outskirts of the human domains has always been relatively calm. Few dared to enter this literally "alive" forest. The life force in him was almost tangible. And with those daredevils who were gathered into him, He quickly straightened out and gave to the fodder of the living creatures that he was in. I was lucky - the Forest took me as my own. I swear, there was a case when he even defended me, as if I were his part. In part, the reason for this was clear to me, but it always seemed strange this fact, although I do not care about my head here. You can say that the beast, after my appearance, now has a buffet. He did not touch me again for one reason, known only to me, but everything in order. This evening I was sitting in my house, built on a small glade in the forest from the "improvised" material - the benefit of the forest did not oppose the logging of dead wood. The fireplace, on the other hand, was made of stone. In it, without coal, wood and smoke, the flame was pleasantly playing. The spell supported him reliably. Sitting in front of him in his armchair, I was vaguely remembering my past, home world, Earth ... From reflection and peace I was torn off by the noise outside the door, barely discernible because of the heavy rain. Gently rising from the chair, I took the knife in my left hand and went to the door. Behind her, there was a strong smell of sulfur and ozone. Demons? One thing is clear - this "someone" teleported here - this is evidenced by ozone. But this also means that it was transferred to the device, not magic. Demons are dismissed ... But my already very hasty reflections were interrupted by an uninvited guest: - Alex, will you open to me, or will I get wet here?

Fortunately, my fears did not materialize. It was Thorwald.

— Always amazed how you manage through the forest to pass through, opening the door, I hugged an old friend.

— If you remember how he you almost took my head off when we are together in his heart to pass tried.

— I smiled.

— Everyone has their own tricks

— Parried my words Thor. While he took off his coat and shook him from the water, revealing his ornate, tight-fitting light armor, I made tea from local herbs and we sat by the fireplace. And Thor continued:

— so, where you live now... Curious. I barely found you.

— Saves you from surprises. summed up I'm. How many times have asked you to call me by my real name.

— Excuse me, can't get. What you eat even if you never get out of here?

— Hunt. Here, because, as you know, not only predators live. So now you're a recluse, a lone hero? — smiled at Thor, and his small sharp fangs slightly bared.

— And you have, I see that the General was what? — assessing appearance, I pinned it.

— Well, you're bent. — he laughed. But just a few seconds his face became impenetrable serious.

— I am now one of the leaders of the secret service have Arniel.

— Come on, buddy! Surprised! — I already whistled. What about Leah? Probably a master already, a couple with gray?

— If. With the advent of the new government Dergree expelled, and she, after her experiments in the Circle appeared a Knight of hell and smashed half of the tower before the mages could hardly have destroyed, she disappeared without a trace. Fear of the Inquisition. You know their stupid rules about such antics, and magic in General. I heard she left for the dwarven mountains in search of new knowledge. Rumor has it she was seen with a group of dark elves, however, then found out their dead bodies without hearts, burned to the ground. But Leah was not. Only an unbearable smell of sulfur was in the air... Hmm. Our girl was all alone... Almost. summed up Thor. After his story on my sweet Leah, I suddenly became very sad for her, and I had just learned to live without her. Though for such a short time, but I literally ingrained in the soul... Yes. Now I exactly ordered to the road.

— I smiled. Well, there is a silver lining. But the Inquisition and the Circle with their tower now will not care about it. Thor's face became even more gloomy, and he never drank tea, put down the Cup, and then, leaning towards me, said:

— in General, the reason I came. We need your help. In Lostgarden going on, God knows what: People are gathering their forces to exterminate any creature, non-humans, even mages, almost deprived of liberty, the elves in their forests prey on all outsiders who comes to them, the dwarves locked themselves in the mountains and all the entrances to their mines and caves, in addition to the Mountain guards, guards do not know who. Angels demons full disclosure: they There is little paradise with Hell, so now they have arranged a polygon in the world of Lostgard, and our victory over the archdemon has not whitewashed them, with their new leader. Necromancers, too, divorced - after that battle, at the fortress Midran, still go and "harvest" its collected. Already decent army was accumulated. In general, all as from coils flew. Not without the participation of the latter, of course, as I suppose.

- Thor smiled joyfully, again slightly bared his fangs. "You know that I no longer participate in such interracial" events. "

- Yes I remember. Arniel himself sent for you, as I did not explain to him what you were doing. Understand, this is out of the way. We really need your help - we collect all we can. We are already in pain until a little ... I did not know whether to agree or not. On the one hand, after all that I've been through, I stopped to get involved in these interracial disassemblies again, but on the other hand, Thor would never ask me for help without extreme cause and, even more so, climb into this forest. Opening the cache in the fireplace, I took out an elaborately executed dagger. The handle was made of rock crystal, and at its base in gold cut a large ruby ​​gleamed with a bloody gleam. Golden snakes interwoven around the handle, and the blade, razor-sharp, along with the runes on it, gave a turquoise glow. It was dotted with a wide variety of symbols. I sat on the armchair and turned the dagger in my hands: "Do you remember this thing?" - Taking the end of the blade, I asked.

- And how! - Thor even a little quickened at the sight of this ancient mysterious object. His beastly eyes stared at the dagger. "Ah, what did we have to get him for, we do not want to remember ..." He paused for a moment, then continued: "Although it was very interesting." Do not compare with our past life on Earth. At least you remember how we met? And we with an old friend, sitting by the fireplace, hit the not so distant, but with that very rich memories of the past days ...

Part 1

Chapter 1:

A strange find My name is Alexey Filippov, you can just Lesha. I'm 24 years old, 172 cm tall, of ordinary build, short hair and dark hair, blue eyes. I live in St. Petersburg, in the same place and work as a rescuer in the Ministry of Emergency Situations. When I woke up, it was six in the morning. "As on a schedule," I thought. I did not feel like getting up, but I had to go to work in an hour. I went to a cold shower, shaved, I got milk, cheese, sausage and bread, cooked breakfast and sat down at the table. Outside the window the morning seemed very friendly: the sky was clear, the air was not torn Sounds of sirens, which in recent times is almost constant. The sun shines brightly, affectionately starting to warm up its rays with the cooled earth overnight. "Well, somehow everything is fine. So that in St. Petersburg and everything is so wonderful - not good ...

- I thought, when, already chewing the last piece of a sandwich, I reached for the phone, check the mail. - Revenge! - I nobly swore, seeing in him four missed calls from work and an unread message. "Urgently! The general gathering at the airport "Pulkovo" at seven thirty. " "Well, straight, as I thought!" I quickly threw the form into my backpack and ran out of the apartment. Fortunately, that the subway was not so still crowded. I did not go by car - I would not have done it. I arrived at seven twenty-three, when everyone was already gathered. I quickly changed my clothes and got on the job. The culprit of this whole meeting, Lieutenant-Colonel Slucunin, explained something with ardor and displeasure to his subordinates. "Listen, Kostyan, what happened, that we were thrown off this early?" - Elbowing my friend lightly, I asked in a low voice. - From what I have understood, it is that our researchers in the Himalayas have dug something out, so, at the signal, without waiting for them, a group of scientists went there. As far as we know, there was an avalanche there, and now no rumor, no spirit, neither from those nor from others. You see how Slutnina is shaking from them. Eternally, the eggheads do not need to be stuffed into their asses. Kostya spit at his feet with contempt. - Yeah, the snowdrifts rake ... With our work you do not get bored. I smiled ironically.

- That's for sure. After listening to the "fervent" briefing, we climbed the ladder to our good "Ilyusha" and went to another rescue raid. Arriving at the local station, we got all the necessary mountaineering equipment; Winter clothing, military first aid kits for emergency first aid, emergency lighthouses - in case we are unable to return on our own. We were assigned to two MI-8 helicopters and a surveillance group. With me flew: Kostya - a strong kid, Seryoga - always unhappy with all around the fools, Vovka - a former boxer and rowdy in life, the commander of our group

- Senior Lieutenant Mitrofanov, but for an old friendship we called him by name - Anton, and four other strangers To me guys who have recently settled in with us. Our group was landed in the place from which the last time the signal of the search beacon of a group of scientists was received, and the second group of meters in three hundred meters from us, where the signal from the investigator's beacon disappeared. Yes, let in warm clothes and snowshoes, but to wander through huge to insanity snowdrifts and under a gusty wind, there is little pleasure. Every now and then the feeling that he is about to throw you off, fuck, to the foot, and remember how they called. But we must pay tribute - the beauty here is indescribable. I stopped briefly, looking around. No trace. In general, but it was necessary to move on. We walked in chains, looking for something that would help in the search, but it did not work either. Traces of even their presence here were absent, as if they were not there at all. I do not like all this. My sciatic nerve did not find a place for a bad apprehension.

- Group 1, report on the process of search, reception.

- Croaked in the headset-walkie-talkie.

- Valer, while confused - as the water has sunk, reptiles are eggheads. Anton cursed. Among the officers he enjoyed authority and allowed himself some liberties. But he always treated the case more than seriously, for which he was appreciated.

- Group 1, accepted. Group 2, report on the process of search, reception. There was a brief silence on the air, then the walkie-talkie reactivated again: "Group 2 is speaking. We have everything clean, the reception. - Group 2, accepted. Groups 1,2, return to the base for heating and rest, reception. - Group 1 understood. - Group 2, is. A couple of minutes later, helicopters flew in behind us. Having climbed in through the rope ladder, frozen and tired, we fell apart on the seats.

- Well. - Serguey growled. "They have so much protested, but they have not found any nichrome, not even their tracks, or at least a hint that they were there." Only exhausted and frozen. What were they looking for?

- Yes, the fool knows! - Vovka responded. - they also have a black man in the ass, a thread, but they will! Egghead nerds, to them! "Stop screwing!" As women are not satisfied with the languages ​​you scratch! Bellowed Mitrofanov. Then we flew in silence, listening only to the rumble of the helicopter and the mats of the pilots, "caressing" the rich Russian language and the already riotous weather in the mountains. At the heating station, we were already waiting for a hot late dinner and tea. Tired, we sat down at tables and with great appetite began to destroy cooked mashed potatoes with fish. By the end of lunch, Slucunin entered the dining room. Everyone broke away from the meal, pushed aside the plates and stood in front of the table. Silence reigned in the dining room, and the lieutenant-colonel, meanwhile, broke this dead silence in a slightly nervous voice: "Rest for another 15 minutes, then build groups 1 and 2 in front of the helicopters." The commanders of the groups come to me at the observation post. We left the tables and walked into the next room, which is a rest room. It had two sofas, a long wardrobe with a bunch of hangers and a hanging shelf, a small TV of the year 2000, three chairs and a table with chess and newspapers. Unfortunately, there was no time to enjoy its amenities - 15 minutes passed unnoticed. We did not have time to rest, as we had to search again until it was dark. They landed us in a place where we interrupted our search. Just lined up with a chain, we went the same route further. "Listen, Lyokh, what if these scientists have uncovered something in the cave, and then they filled them with snow?" After all, a hundred poods so! - Vovka literally shouted into the radio. Because of the blizzard, even through the radio-headset was very poorly audible. "Then we'll find them." I agreed with vexation. The snowstorm in the mountains was terrible, which greatly hampered the fulfillment of the task. But after a few more minutes of ineffectual searches, finally, we managed to find a clue.

- Anton, this is Seryoga. It seems that I have found something. Barely distinguishable in the radio.

- We are already coming to you. Said the commander. We were next to Sergei in seven minutes. By that time he had already unearthed his find. "Well, what have you got there?" - Backpack. Scientists, hike. In it, scientific stuff and a lot of rubbish.

- he looked away and noticed in the snow barely seen a black edge of an object.

- And this is what we have here? - he's got to dig up his second find. "Oh, but that's interesting." Camcorder.

- Things to pick up and continue the quest.

- Anton ordered abruptly. "It's about half an hour before dusk, then we can start looking for them again only tomorrow morning." But the last half hour we spent again to no avail. In another ten minutes, we were again taken away by helicopters. After a good dinner, we dried it and somehow turned on this camera, and began to view its contents. Most of the files collapsed, and basically there was just an empty for us torment of these wise men, but some moments were very interesting. It turned out that this was an expeditionary group of one very influential private organization under the state wing from Russia, engaged in collecting and studying "unusual" things all over the Earth. This time, their group of researchers discovered a "strange" cave with unknown symbols at the entrance and inside, and so they called a group of scientists to try to study the find on the spot. But just six minutes after the report, it was impossible to contact them. And this backpack and camera were their insurance in case they can not return and they will have to look. The last file was this video: "- We move on to the location of the object detection. The walkie-talkies and lighthouses refused. With the center no connection. It is long and dangerous to descend - we are afraid of the avalanche. We have no choice. The cave is located 150 meters to the north of the place where we left this video camera and backpack. If we are searched - we left on the planned route. God grant us to go back in such terrible weather ... "We sat in silence, dumbfounded by the disclosed circumstances. But the silence did not last long. The first one was violated by Anton:

- So that's it. The cave means ... That's why we could not find them. After the avalanche, she must have fallen asleep. Aw, handsome. Well, they cleverly understood the camera. He quickly turned his attention to us.

- So it is. Now one more hour of personal time and release. Everyone needs a good night's sleep, because tomorrow will be a very difficult day. With these words, he left the room, leaving us alone with our thoughts. We also did not stay too long and went to sleep in the cabins. The next morning we, though imagining how much work we have to do, but were very encouraged by the fact that they already knew exactly where to find them. Among other things, they also took sapper blades with them. We were ready. Having landed in the place of our last find, as it was said on the video, we went to the supposed location of this cave. "If you believe the data, it's here."

- Anton looked at his tablet, not looking up.

- Sergei, Vladimir - you are digging here. You, four - digging in seven meters to the east, well, and we three will dig meters in five west. Taking out the skids, we distributed to places and began digging. But before we could really begin, the earth shuddered under our feet, and we were knocked down by a blow to the snow. "Your mother!" What the fuck is this ?! Kostya cursed loudly. The snow under our feet fell through, and the three of us flew after him down ... ... I do not know how long I was lying down, but I woke up broken. In all senses of the word. All was in abrasions and bruises. My whole body ached. The benefit of fractures was not. Looking around, I realized that I was in the same cave where our wanted groups were gone. Two meters from me, motionless lay Anton. I ran up to him and checked his pulse and breathing. Alive, thank God. - Eh! Anton! Soldiers get up! - tried to shout to him, weighing his slaps. Does not wake up. I decided to do it differently. Remembering what we were doing with teenagers to sober up after a good party, I took a big bunch of snow and, knocking him over his face, began to rub it quickly. As I expected, he woke up and jumped up from such unexpected stress.

- What the hell?! Where are we? And where is everyone, Lyokha? He shouted.

- Calm down. I myself do not know. Maybe they stayed on the surface. If you do not remember, we failed.

- Okay. They fell ... Like the three of us. Where is Kostyan? We started looking for him, but the answer did not take long. Not far from us was a pool filled with dripping blood along the icy wall. Raising our heads, we saw a very unpleasant sight

- Kostya was hanging his head on a huge ice spike, stalagmite, which for some reason grew from below upwards.

- Horror ... Sad end.

- I looked away, unable to withstand a rather terrible picture. - You can go crazy ... - but, despite this

- Do you yourself believe that there will be a signal? Yes, if not for the record, we ourselves could not find this cave for anything. And besides, our lighthouses were damaged by the fall. I already checked. It's an empty business. We moved deeper into the cave. Well at least the flashlights did not break. She represented a circle in a cut, three meters in diameter, with a perfectly flat floor, as if it was specially poured into the rink. The tunnel itself was about four hundred meters long and went deep into the mountain. Along the way, unknown runes came to me on the walls, but after reaching the end of this cave, it turned out that there was a large hall with stone spikes sticking out from the floor and ceiling everywhere. But there was no snow in it! In this room it was warm ... "It's strange all this ...".

But what I saw there shocked us so much that the incident with Kostya seemed to us a joke of a distant childhood: a lot of bones, skeletons and corpses were scattered around the stone spikes, mostly already long and almost decayed, but among them there were fresh ones ...

- Quiet horror ... And here are our "winners" ...

- Anton pointed his finger at a separate pile of bodies. Some were torn with hearts, others with torn heads, and the heads themselves were planted with spikes, and others were torn in half. Or is not ... Cut! "Who or what could have done this to them?" - he was horrified at the ideas, as, indeed, I did. In the wall opposite the exit, a hollow circle with a depression inside the wall was cut out. On the circle there were some strange symbols ... Wait. There were two circles! One in the other. From afar, and after all that I saw, it was immediately not noticed.

- It seems that this is the "strange find", because of which all the fuss is. Anton blurted out in disgust, although it was obvious that this design fascinated him too. Before we could approach her, the earth suddenly shuddered again, the symbols on the outer circle began to glow with turquoise, and on the inner circle they began to glow with a fiery red glow, and they began to rotate in opposite directions. We just froze, could not make a single step. And in the hole of the circle, meanwhile, some kind of twist appeared, like a small tornado, only horizontal, a narrow part towards the wall. Then a flash occurred, and a man came out of the twist (of course, I would like to believe it), but he looked, then, very strange: long gray hair, dead-pale skin, a face on his angular skull from the chin to the eyes hid the rough Iron mask, and the eyes were completely black. At a height of two meters he had a very strong physique, sluggish, his hands were adorned with glittering bear claws. Out of clothes, he wore clothes with dark cloth rags, a cloak, blacker than the night, and metal boots knee-deep with spiked knee pads and noses. This creature made several slow, measured steps to us, and then it stopped. Raising his head slightly and looking at us as if he were nothing, he spoke in a low, guttural, almost infernal voice: "What ... you ... Do you need ...?" The first of the numbness was Anton. "Did you kill them all?" - he tried to cope with the wave of fear that had rolled on him, which turned out with great difficulty.

- They paid ... The fixed price ...

- The price? For what? - For the passage ... The gate must live ... They need ... The energy of the soul ... "So that's it. The gate, then

- I, too, have already more or less withdrawn and wedged myself into the conversation:

- Who are you?

- I tried to speak, that my voice sounded as smooth as possible.

- I'm a Sentinel ... Reaper ... I ... Guard the passage ... - Passage to where?

- In the heart of the worlds ... Lostgard ... - And this is where? - my brain, as well as the brain of Anton, has already exploded from so much information and refused to believe in what is happening. But the Guard ignored me and asked again:

- What ... You ... Do you need ...?

- We are here by chance, we are looking for a way back.

- I tried to lie. "There's no way back ... You ... Awakened the gates ... There's only one way ... But everything ... Its price ..." "Will you kill us?" - The price of the passage ... Life ... It does not matter whose ... One life ... One passage ... - But if we kill you, will you die? And who will guard the gates?

- I until the last wanted to disperse with him without bloodshed, especially looking at his impressive and frightening dimensions, and understanding the picture of the massacre around.

- No ... I live ... Between the worlds ... As long as the gates live ... If you kill me ... I ... I can be reborn ... In any of the worlds ... I ... Immortal ... "So there is no other choice ..." - it was in my head, but did not have time I reacted like Anton, brought an ice ax, threw it into the Reaper. He, in turn, without showing any interest in what is happening, in an instant dodged the seemingly imminent death and, seizing and wrapping it on the fly, with cold-blooded precision threw back. Icebreaker entered Anton exactly between his eyes, and he, like a doll, fell over backwards, as if all the rope were cut off to him instantly... - No !!! - I cried out in despair, but not wanting to reoccupy, jumped back for a large stone spike. Anton was my best friend ... I cursed everything-scientists, expedition, rescue operation, Guardian, everyone ... Was ... And now he's not ...

- He ... Has paid ... His price ... - the Sentinel said slowly. He put his hand on the body Anton, and his dead body began to shudder, and from the eyes literally leaked snow-white light, gathered over him in a bright, mesmerizingly beautiful sphere. The reaper sharply squeezed his hand into a fist and this snow-white ball instantly rushed at him, and striking his clothes, dissolved into it ...

"The price ... What did the Reaper say? One life - one passage? That is, life is already there, so these gates are open? "- flashed through my mind. "He paid the price ... For himself ... Did not you kill him ... For you ... His fee ..."

"Heck! And how can I kill him ?! He will dump me in no time! But something to die here with hunger or from his hand is not at all hunting "- in my head already panicked panicked. The symbols on the gate again shone, but somehow chaotic. In a circle of a twist, several lightning strikes struck simultaneously, after which a powerful flash broke out, and a man jumped out of it, the appearance of which was difficult even to attribute to an epoch. He was dressed in light plate steel armor hiding his whole body, but they had strange transparent wires embedded in them, through which some energy pulsed, giving off a neon glow. Above all there was a black cloak with a hood and a strange symbol on the back in the form of two hands in fraternal grasp. - Hey! A piece of prehistoric shit! - the stranger pulled out from under his cloak something resembling a rifle from fantastic films, and, pressing on the descent, released into the Reaper a fountain of lightning. Of course, he would have had time to react, but there was nowhere to "react". Lightnings in all directions were flogging and roasting his body, and his right hand, which hit the most powerful category, tore off completely. The guard fell to his knees, and then the charred body fell onto his back unconscious. The mask literally burned to the face of the Guardian. The stranger approached the reaper's body, kicked him on the head, checked his pulse, then stood up and smiled: "How I adore our good old Earth!" There is no magic here, and in this world he has to materialize in the likeness of man. Fit him, that time to spit! Eh, where it is more difficult in other worlds. There it is more difficult for him to cope with the horror. The stranger glanced in my direction. - Yes, get out! We only have fifty-five seconds. I got out of the hiding place, grateful to the ears. When he took off his hood, I realized that this is an ordinary person, and I felt very comfortable.

- Thank you. Without you, I would finish, like everyone else here.

- I looked around the hall.

- Who are you? "We are Hackers of the Gate." We are followers of the first of the people who were able to pass through the gate to Lostgard and now we help other people, and not only, to pass into this world. Listen, there's not much time. The reaper spoke the truth about the fact that there is no turning back. The guard is still alive, and he will pay you for passage when you crash him. You must go through the Gate. There is no way back ...

- Will you come back?

- I'm a Hacker - a stranger laughed. "I, even without murders, can move through them, or rather with their help." Kill the Reaper and go there. Now your life is there. Yes, the Sentinel will soon wake up, and then you will surely end up like the rest. And it's time for me. It's time to say goodbye. In Valhalla, the gnome aroused the gates. Oh, and it's hot there now! With these words the stranger pressed something on his armor and the energy in them pulsed brighter and more intense. He pointed his weapon at the Gate and fired. Lightning stuck in a sheaf of sparks in symbols on them, starting to unwind the rings. When the rings unwound, he took out a device, like a remote, pressed the button, and with a flash disappeared in their radiance. The portal went out ... There was nothing more to do. Taking my ice ax firmly, I approached the Reaper. "This is for Anton, creature!" - and with a swing drove the blade into his black, like an abyss, eye.

A moment later, a tremor ran through his body and he fell apart into a million particles. His ashes rose in a cloud and headed toward the Gate. Soaking in the symbols, they revived again, and this bizarre twist appeared just waiting for my step into him to move into a world full of obscurity. I approached Anton's body and prayed for him. With a wild pain in my heart, I pulled an ice pick from it and, with a running start, closed my eyes and jumped into this vortex. Cotton, flash, and everything stopped, disappeared. And I, Alexey Filippov, disappeared with a flash ...

Chapter 2:

Alone among the wolves, or "Hello, new house!" I have no idea how long I was in the outing, but woke up in the afternoon near absolutely the same gates, only on a hill with green grass And under the warm sun. Ice caves did not even smell. The gates themselves hovered in the air, and on the sides to the ground were buried strange low, with ornamentation, pillars. Throwing off his winter clothes and leaning against such a pillar, I began to recall: "Where am I? What happened to me? Where are the others? "- and then I was overwhelmed by the waves of memories. From so much experience, just a couple of days, the head and heart just wanted to burst into thousands of pieces. Gradually pulling myself together, I began to look around. "There are fields all around ... In the northwest, in the distance, mountains can be seen, at their foot a somber forest, which sometimes seems to be alive ... Ta-ak. To the north-east, there are some buildings on the dais, or ... Come on! Castle! Well, just the Middle Ages! Okay. Then there is a forest belt from giant trees that stretched to the north by three huge islands of plant giants, opening the roads through its grounds, closer to the castle there were small hills, and behind the scenery of this fortress again the mountain range hides everything ... »Next to me lay two of my ice axes, The flashlight could be seen in the grass and ... Shadow? I turned sharply and almost fell from surprise and fear. A meter away from me stood that Reaper! I jerked away from him and, grabbing my ice pick, threw it at him, horizontally twisting. But the Guardian did not make a single move. It was only worth it in his eyes to appear a small pale green sparkle, as my weapon for a few moments froze in a centimeter from his throat, and then bounced with such force towards the mountains, which for a few seconds disappeared from view.

- Do not ... Man. There is no need ... to shed blood ...

- I killed you? You will not take me for it?

- You, people ... Trifling. This is the price ... The fee ... It was honest. The conspiracy is not violated ... There is no point ... taking your soul ... - he also behaved impartially and majestically. I like a rock from the heart. Well, if he does not want to kill me anymore, I decided to ask him.

- What kind of place is it? - The world ... Lostgard ...

- And who lives here? "Man ... Go ... Your dear ..." said the Reaper and froze, like a statue. Unfortunately, my interlocutor was completely intractable. It was already impossible to call him. We must do something, because there was no food, no water, no shelter nearby. "Curious, who lives in this castle?" - I very much wanted to hope that people lived there. I had no choice but to go there. Picking up a flashlight from the grass and the remaining ice pick, I walked along the road to my only hope of salvation. Day 1. The feeling of hunger was well found on me, but fortunately, on the way I came across a pond with fabulous-pure water. "Yes, yes. We do not see this kind of thing. " And no living creatures around were observed. Absolutely. This circumstance cast a bad foreboding, but there was no time to think about it - we must go to the castle more quickly. I took water into the jar and went on. It's strange, but lately someone's eyes were visible on his head. I tried not to think about it, deciding that this Reaper was watching me. Day 2. The feeling of persecution increased, even though I already passed, almost without stopping, according to my calculations, about fifty-six kilometers or so, and the Reaper disappeared behind the horizon for a long time. Most likely, it is from the pumping silence around and hunger. There was a longing to be intolerable and there was less water left than for a day. Passing under a warm sun for another eight kilometers, towards evening, I made it to the forest. Despite the fact that it was not the Earth, it consisted of ordinary firs and pines, only it hurt the tall and thick. Decided here to arrange a halt - it was necessary to sleep at least four hours. Tearing branches from the bushes, in each of which you could easily hide the car, and collecting the brushwood, I built a small canopy by the tree and spread a fire. The night of the 2nd day. So, as I fall asleep for a long time, I lay under a canopy, tossing about trying to sleep. But no sooner had it been fifteen minutes than twenty meters on the other side of the fire heard a rustle. Drowsiness at this moment, as a hand took off. Gently holding the handle of the ice ax, I prepared to roll back, in case of an unexpected attack. And it happened. The uninvited guest made a lightning jump to meet me. "And I, the fool, tried to convince myself!" Only at the last moment I hardly managed to roll to the side, evading thereby, from imminent death. The monster flew by, raznesya my canopy in chips. Running was pointless, if I just did not want an even quicker death. I got to my feet, and, having tightened my ice ax more firmly, began to wait for actions from the attacker's side. And he did not hesitate. When the beast rose from under the dam, I realized all my helplessness: standing on two extremities, this creature was about three and a half meters tall. With a human constitution, instead of legs, he had powerful hind legs and a wolf's head with eyes burning with blind insanity. The whole body was covered with thick wool, like black velvet. We finished this terrible picture, like a razor, sharp claws. "Well, a real werewolf from Films! "Opening his mouth with huge fangs, he let out a long growl and rushed at me. Taking a leap to the side, I plunged the ice ax into his hind leg with a swing. This blow was not so much strong for him, as unexpected. Rushing another seven meters, he crashed into a very still young pine and broke it. My weapon was sticking out in his paw, and blood spilled from it, but it was amazing that he did not even notice it! Not surprisingly, there was nothing alive in the district. At this point, he again made an attempt to finish me off. The third roll. With his blind fury, he was not stupid. Only I was going to again make a maneuver, as at the last moment he took a little to the left and the back side of a clawed leg knocked me off my feet, sending me flying to the first tree. Hiting him, I crashed to the roots, completely exhausted from the wild pain. In the eyes it was getting dark, and the body was unbearably sick. The monster stood, enjoying the moment, as the cat stands before the tortured mouse. But it did not last long. Behind him, literally from the air, there was a creature of the same height, but only ... Metal? And a powerful kick of the foot in the back, he knocked him down and threw him to the side about five meters. Then, in the metal creature, the outer sides of the hips opened, and from them he extracted two knives. Knife, by its dimensions, and took a protective stance. The monster stood up, shook his head and, with challenge and fury, fixed his gaze on the creature, who attacked so unexpectedly. They both stood still for about half a minute, but the monster could not stand the first. Rushing so unconcernedly at this creation from metal, he made the last mistake in his insane life. And the rival apparently expected this step, for only as soon as the Werewolf approached him as much as possible without unnecessary movements, mechanically, drove the knife together with the handle into his mouth so that the blade almost completely left the back of the monster, and then , Easily flinging from the powerful blow of a clawed hand, stabbed a second knife in his heart. He only grunted from the lethal wounds inflicted on him, and then fell without breath to the ground. When the "Savior" took two steps toward the fire, I could see it much better - it was a robot. Instead of a head and a torso, there was a cockpit for the pilot with mirrored glasses, massive but noisy hands that started from the top of the cockpit, and powerful legs began from the base on which the cockpit was placed, in a simple way, from the groin of this steel monster. The knives were about half a meter in length, and through the blood, strange blinking lights gleamed on their blades. They were completely unknown to me. Despite its "mechanicality", it moved completely silently. Further I saw already vaguely: the robot crouched down, then the cabin opened, and a man jumped out of it. He approached the body of the monster and bent down ... At this moment, my eyes darkened completely, and I fell into the abyss of reason. The last thing I heard was the phrase of this strange man: "Rest in peace, brother ...". Consciousness returned very slowly to me. As through a dream, voices were heard first, followed by heartbreaking cries.

A minute later I heard a number of people come to me, and a little standing over me, talking to each other. "Here's a man I've caught, Uriel."

As you said, this is the one who came out of the Gateway of Travel. Without consciousness, but alive. He suffered greatly after the fight with the wolfhound. "Did he grapple with a wolfhound with his bare hands?" Curiously, he did not conclude deals with spirits, if he could get out alive with such unequal forces. "That's not quite true, Inquisitor." I watched him for two days from the pond of crystal tears, when the wolfhound lost his way. I did not notice anything unusual, but at night this thing even became a surprise to me. The fact that this person at the sight of a monster of such Dimensions did not run away in panic, but took a fight with him, too, at first pushed me to the idea that he was obsessed, but the development of events dispelled my fears. To the wolfhound did not kill him, I had to intervene. By this time he already managed to send the poor fellow into a deep knockout. Judging by the route of his movement, he walked here. - Here, you say? Curious. Or maybe he smelled you and pretended to be helpless that you brought him here? In any case, it must be interrogated and if it lashes out, it will be burned in the same place. Order the novices to prepare a room for inquiry, I will allocate for interrogation of the inquisitor.

- in my mind again darkened, and I fell into darkness. I woke up already in the six-wall mirror room, fastened on the arms and legs to the chair. On the walls every now and then moved, twinkling, red spots. "Answer clearly and only the truth." And no questions.

- There was a voice in the room.

- What is your name? - Alexey. - I spoke smoothly and calmly, because I still did not fully regain consciousness.

- Where are you from? Peace?

- Earth. Listen, what do you want?

- Here I ask questions, I repeat for the feeble-minded. Do you know what kind of World it is?

- Lostgard. "Where from?" "The reaper told me." "So you have not only been able to kill the Reaper, but you've managed to communicate with him as well?" You're just a hero. What with the wolfhound could not do it? If it were not for our "Witch Hunter", there would be nothing to collect from you. "The Reaper helped me." "Is that so?" And who? - Hacker Gate. - Well, then everything is more or less clear. How long did he stay here? "I remember the first two days. And how many have lain in your country, I do not know. "You've already had a third week, boy." We have your bones with organs, like a puzzle piece, and the lungs with a heart have been replaced. Wolfhound you all the chest cage a little bit into a pancake did not turn. - The man was distracted, but quickly returned to the interrogation. "For what purpose did you go to the castle?" "It was the only sign that there might have been people nearby." Everybody wants to live. "Well, count, you're done." It's just whether it's good for you or bad, we'll find out. Everything around was buzzing, as if some kind of big mechanism was warming up, then the spots began to line up in a certain sequence, and from One by one, in turn, the red rays immediately began to stretch, forming a cobweb around, and permeating me through and through. They warmly slipped over the body, slightly baking, like the sun's rays on the beach. But when I was periodically curbed by discharges of current, I was strongly twitchy. "Sit still." Now you are only slightly uncomfortable and a little pinch. But by your behavior you are about to cause suspicions in me, and I will raise the power to a maximum, from which you will shred in a moment, and then fry what remains. I immediately calmed down and closed my eyes, as the mirror room terribly pressed on the psyche. The process lasted about nine minutes.

The power of the discharge will grow a little, then it will decrease, and when everything stopped, I did not have time to open my eyes as I felt the prick in my neck, and again after a few moments I went into the world of dreams ... ...

The room was more like a strict regime prison: Steel walls, cages, and Places instead of them were the punishment cells, completely isolated from the outside world. In one of these ordinary cells I awoke. Looking around, quickly realized where I was. Everyone here was kept apart from each other. Some of the prisoners looked very unusual, and some of them in general remotely resembled people. It was terrible even to imagine who was held in the punishment cell. From the lighting there were torches and candles, and in each cell hung a miniature surveillance camera. I got up from the pendant on the bed chains and went to the grate. From it, ozone was blowing, like after a thunderstorm. But only I reached out to her, as in the next cage, when I saw this, a man jumped violently on the bed.

- Do not touch! Are you a fool?! - And what is wrong?

- I would not want our local hero to be fried from electric shock. The prisoner chuckled. "A local hero?" - my surprise was genuine.

- Here already everyone heard, how you have entered fight with a wolfhound, practically bare hands. And in addition, without the help of spirits, he survived! "Well, I did not kill him myself." Even it's hard to say if I hurt him with my ice pick. Rather scratched. - Not surprising. Wolfhound such toothpicks, that you need to prick a needle - only irritate. If you take into account only swords, knives and guns, then for them, the larger the size and the caliber, the better - the rest will not help. And how did you survive? "A man saved me in some robot."

- Yah? Witch Hunter himself? So he saw something in you. What are you doing here with the suicide bombers in this case? - I have no idea. - After carefully examining the interlocutor, I even slightly horrified: on the emaciated body the poor creatures glided the burnt lanes every now and then, and their legs were broken in several places. "Who is this you?" "The Inquisitors, dear." Who else! He spat on the floor with contempt. - For what?

"I'm from Earth." As a child, my father liked to carry me around the mountains with me. Here and then he, as usual, dragged me to another mountain in the Himalayas, but only when we climbed, fell into a cave some. And there the damned Gates were with this soulless creature. But the Hacker Gate arrived on time, only the Reaper's father managed to kill ... - the prisoner was distracted, then, swallowing, returned to the answer to the question.

- So that's it. After my adulthood already here, I had a gift - I could work on objects at a distance. I was able to conceal this for about ten years, but recently one passer-by saw me holding a thief in the alley, pressed against the wall, without touching him. I did not have time to stop him and he ran away and reported to the Inquisition. I was grabbed very quickly and then tortured, thinking that I was obsessed. But I was pure! And they, after these bullying, said that my soul is tainted with magic and I either get executed, or, more likely, will be released into the arena for training the Hunter. But in me there is no spirit! - it was evident that this man was in despair. - I sympathize with you, my friend ... I spent about an hour in thought, but they were interrupted by the creak of the opening door. A man entered the corridor, eighty meters tall, with tanned skin, bald head and deep-set eyes. When he approached my cage, I immediately recognized in it my savior. He lowered the lever on the wall, and my cage divided the grate into two equal parts. Then the door opened in the empty half, and he went into it. A seat opened from the opening in the wall and, sitting on it, he addressed me in a slightly sympathetic tone. "I have bad news for you." The stranger began. "I do not know what could be worse." I asked, smiling a little grimly. "Though you are clean, the scanner has shown that your body is somewhat different from the human and is an ideal receptacle. For any spirit. "And what's wrong?" Hold it. Is different? The receptacle? What kind of perfume? What are you talking about? - this news confused me and frightened me in earnest. - We ourselves are at a loss. And about spirits, in Lostgarde, and not only, there are three types of spirits: divine, demonic and animal. They are immaterial themselves. And they live in different dimensions and worlds. As far as we know, in this form they live only in Lostgarde. Look around, at the other prisoners. Fused with the soul, spirits spoil it, change the appearance, some give magical abilities and sometimes incredible physical data. The first two species, as far as we know, merge exclusively with the souls of people and their like, and then only with the elect. So they are not so often found and live apart. But the bestial spirits are much more disgusting: they are able to merge with almost any living creature, sometimes with terrible transformations. Often, with the "Successful" merging with people and humanlike creatures, they turn into beastly animals. They are difficult to distinguish from normal people. Otherwise, terrible creatures, like the one that attacked you, are obtained. But believe me, these are still "flowers". "And who are those in closed lockets?" "And these are the pearls of my" collection ", which I personally caught and hardly persuaded the inquisitor not to kill. In the first is the Demon, the Knight of Hell, and next to the Angel. These are the hardest to catch, as they are very reasonable. He made a proud face. - Next are already familiar to you Wolfhound, Chimera, Arachne and Minotaur. There are even a few undead. I persuaded the Inquisitors Give me for the arena a large hall in the dungeon and conduct training with these monsters. "So you're the Witch Hunter?"

- It's not. - he smiled. "I'm a Hunter pilot." My name is Dorgray. He held out his hand through the cage, removing the tension from it. "And you're Alex, then?"

- Yeah. - though with disbelief, but I shook his hand in response. "So what's waiting for me?" "The Inquisitor wants to execute you tomorrow, he is afraid, as always, that's in their spirit." I want to dissuade him, taking you as a disciple on the Hunter. He liked you. And it's difficult for me to find a common language with him.

- How to understand it? He's a machine. "Not really." Do not take it into your head yet.

- He looked at the wrist unit, like a mini-computer, then abruptly stood up.

- I have to go. Better pray that I managed to persuade the Inquisitor.

- With these words he left the cage, closed the door and, lifting the grate, went to the exit. At the door, without turning around, he threw over his shoulder: "Good luck to all of us, Alex."

- and closed the door to prison. Every day it became more "interesting" to stay in this world. How could he not be the last ... I lay down on the bed and tried to fall asleep, just could not sleep. Only closer to the night I began to fall gradually into the world of dreams ...

- Get away from me!

- The poor man's voice in the next cage was scared.

- Yeah. I just want to execute me for my "talents" ... No, I say! Leave better, please!

- The monologue of a neighbor in a cage brought me back from the realm of dreams. "Friend, who are you talking to?" - except for himself in the cell, there was no one else. Ignoring all my words, he continued to speak to himself with animated animation. "... Especially, Wald," the voice of the spirit was slightly sarcastic. "You have nothing to lose!"

- Oh no! I'd rather live the last day with a man. Wald was adamant.

- And if it will not be your last day? "And then I'll wander around some monster in the woods and caves, until they sort me out on trophies?" "I would not say that." I do not like to make large-scale changes over the vessel. I will only slightly correct you externally, and I will impart abilities to your habitat. You have a rare gift for a person. You will offend me very much if you die. - The spirit sarcastically smirked.

- I will be honest: I urgently need a vessel, and you will not be prevented from living again. So, maybe we can help each other?

- And you will receive control over the body, how did you do with these poor guys? "They did not take this into account during the transaction." I can be in you as an inner voice, but you can control the body by yourself, if so You want. He said casually. "But with the threat of life I will interfere, do not be damned."

- Are you all right? Ay!

- I tried to draw the poor man's attention to myself, but he completely ignored me, as if I did not exist here. "A beast means ..." "You must understand, outwardly you will be the same person." Almost. The spirit grinned again. "If I agree, you guarantee me freedom?" - Yes, but until the end of the escape I will steer, so that unforeseen circumstances do not happen.

- Okay, I agree to a deal. - exhaled, said the prisoner. "Well ... Deal ... Yes, he does not talk to himself, but with the spirit!" - I guessed, remembering the stories of Dorghray.

- No! Hold it! Do not agree, do you hear? - but it was already late. Unknown from where the pale blue haze appeared, enveloped, and then absorbed into his body. He fell from the bed to his broken legs and howled in pain. In a wild agony, he writhing on the floor, while inside his bones crunched, and limbs, then unnaturally arched, then returned to normal, meanwhile, as the muscles and growth rapidly increased. When this nightmare ended, he lay motionless on the floor with his eyes open, not blinking, as if he were dead. At the end of the transformation, it was evident how on this immobile body the nails grew into claws with a metallic gleam, the ears were slightly sharpened, and the green eyes turned to feline. I also noticed that his legs were not broken anymore. On the heart-rending cries, two guards at the entrance to the prison ran into the corridor. Apparently, sensing the danger, a person (or no longer a person) woke up. But it was no longer Wald. Turning my face to me, I saw how this blue haze covers his eyes. Seeing the guards, he sent his hands in their direction, making a gesture, as if something was squeezing them. The guards, like one, grabbed their hearts and fell to their knees. Then, when the captive's claws sparkled and electric arcs began to run between the fingers, both guards were convulsed. He squeezed his hands into fists and jerked them back sharply, as if he had fired a shot. Two powerful electric discharges struck both hearts and turned them into dust, leaving only yawning charred holes in their chests. Approaching the grate, he grabbed the cage and tried to wrest the bars. The tension, which would fry alive in the instant of anyone, lashed him with his tentacles throughout the body, but it only gave strength to the spirit that now lived in it. With a jerk, he wrenched both twigs and, as if nothing had happened, left the cage in the corridor. Then he tore off a thick high-voltage cable from the wall, he once again bared him with his razor-sharp claws. Grabbing his hand for him, he suddenly sparkled with a lot of miniature lightning. Then there was a dazzling flash with accompanying deafening clap, and the prisoner disappeared, leaving only a torn, sparkling cable on the floor with a melted end ... Only a minute later, an alarm was raised, over which almost immediately a whole platoon of fighters with unknown weapons came running, headed by the inquisitor and Dorghray. First of all, this couple ran to the corpses, to establish the cause of their death.

- Base, immediately de-energize all networks except vital ones! Monitor any voltage drop! We must catch him and destroy him this time! - gave the order to Gray on the radio-bracelet.

- Already done. But, it seems, he is already outside the fortress. All traces of his stay disappeared. "Damn it!" Not this time!

- At first Uriel went to an abnormal for him rabies, but after a while he calmed down a bit, turned to Dorghray. "By the way, you interceded for this prisoner." He pointed at me. "You can take him, but do not take his eyes off him, and at the same time interrogate him about what happened." Dorgei approached my cage and, opening it, with a bleak smile, said: "Congratulations, today is your day." Though you're still alive. Come on.

- He waved to me, and we walked to the exit. We walked for a long time - the corridors along which we moved were very confused, and each intersection had two or even three turns. In one of these forks, Dorgray stopped Uriel.

- Well, everything, we are in the other direction.

- Good. Then see you soon, Dorgray.

- I hope for the opposite. - my companion smiled at the inquisitor. The group moved on, and we went to the western corridor. All of them were rudely made of rock, and on the walls the torches burned, illuminating seemingly endless tunnels. In general, everything around looked in the best medieval traditions, but only some strange intersections of this "Epoch" with modern and sometimes even fantastic technologies did not fit into the overall picture. Already towards the end of the road our corridor began to expand considerably, and we came across large hermovrat, similar to the same mechanism as in the catacombs near Moscow or St. Petersburg. My companion went leisurely to the camera, mounted in the door. "Open up, I want to introduce you to someone."

- Look at my eye, I think retina. And then you do not care a lot about it. Three "you" here flunked. He lifted his face to the scanner and he quickly removed all the necessary indicators. Massive hermovrata with a gnash began to open, slowly sliding wheels on the rails.

- Well, here we are. Dorgray breathed. - What kind of place is it? "This is mine, and now your house." - The room was more like a giant hangar with a lot of machines, different mechanisms, combat and cargo vehicles, motorcycles, with medium-sized lighting and rooms for staff.

- We are in the technical block of the castle. All our equipment is stored and serviced here. And here is the star of our techno-company. - we approached the round platform, but it was completely empty.

- And where is this "star"?

I barely had time to notice the distortion in the air, as a huge robot hung over me. But I recognized this miracle of engineering thought almost immediately. "Alex, meet our famous Witch Hunter."

- Dorgey painted a grimace of majesty. "You can call me Ranlog, everyone calls me that." The car stood up in full growth and held out her hand to me.

- Nice to meet you. - I cautiously extended my hand to him in return, but he surprisingly gently shook it with my two fingers. "Gray, this car, what's alive?"

- I was dumbfounded by what was happening.

- Still as alive! He patted Hunter on his knee.

- Do you remember, I told you about the spirits? So here. They themselves can only live in living beings. We have tried countless times to infuse spirits with weapons and equipment to give them the power of these creatures, but all our attempts ended in failure. Here, "he pointed to the Hunter with a nod. - the only successful experiment. True, by order of the Inquisition, we were allowed to experiment only with divine spirits, but none of them began to settle, but two of our wing technicians grew, after which they were immediately executed. And we, secretly from the Inquisition, decided to try to instill the demonic spirit I had previously caught. He had an excellent disguise. Moreover, without a pilot, he himself easily manages it. And flatly refuses to get out of the car.

- By itself! "There was a note of sarcastic joy in Hunter's metallic voice.

- It's difficult with a person. We have to persuade, if he is not an idiot, to seek a common agreement, and if he is not lucky, sometimes he is present only with a voice in his head. And here there is no one! Only the shell! Yes this is a dream!

- And what about the pilot? You also have to obey him.

- I'm not against. It's like they take me on a hunt. Sometimes, even it happens cheerfully. I remember how you fought with a wolfhound, and I liked this performance. If you continue this way, we will quickly become friends. I would have winked at you, but they did not take into account the creation of this handsome man. The demonic spirit laughed softly. "All right, Ranlog, have a rest." Tomorrow morning we will start training, and while I show our new friend his room. Said Gray to him.

- Good. Then I'll take care of the guard. Gray and I walked toward the living quarters. In the stone wall, here and there, there were cut-in arches with steel doors. On both sides of the arches burned a torch, since the lighting here was meager, and the lamps in the technical block were not enough. At the last door was the number "336".

- Here are our apartments, each room for each room. There live pilots and equipment. Sometimes they even live in families. - we approached the door with the number "115". "Now, this is your house." Now there is a standard set of things, the most necessary for living. You'll see for yourself. Over time, settle down. - he glanced at the wrist computer and abruptly interrupted his monologue.

- Ok, I have to go. Tomorrow at 9 o'clock in the morning be ready. "Where should I look for you in case of what?"

- I live in room number "3". If anything, I'm either there or with Ranlog.

- With these words he hurriedly went about his business. There were no pens on the door, only a built-in device for scanning the retina. Having gone through identification, it opened noiselessly. When I entered the room, the light turned on automatically, and the door closed behind me. The situation in it, to be honest, was close to the Spartan: a small kitchen with dishes, spoons, forks, knives and similar stuff. The iron spring bed with a mattress, pillow and blanket reminded me of the barracks. A small oil heater by the bed, opposite to it a projector was mounted in the ceiling, and an iron folding table is attached to the wall, as in trains, with roughly collected two stools. And the picture was completed by a huge velvet-black skin of a creature resembling a wolf, spread almost to the whole floor, and on the table a note: "This is to you as a memory from a dead wolfhound, from Ranlog. I deserved it. " Without becoming, I took off my shoes, took off the already worn-out form of the rescuer, and fell into bed. In free time, I had the rest of the day, and I decided to get a good night's sleep before the upcoming training. I woke up around eight in the morning. On the stool, instead of my clothes, lay a black leather uniform, and on it a wrist computer. My form was not. Suddenly the projector lit up, and in the middle of the room appeared a three-dimensional image of Gray. "Good morning, Alex." Time really no, so get dressed in the shape of the pilot, that my boys for you drove up, and your trash had to be thrown out, really quite a khan to her. On the computer, I have already uploaded the coordinates of the arena. So have breakfast, get dressed and blow to us. It will be interesting. - on this projector went out, and Gray disappeared. I did it. After breakfast, I put on my uniform. She was like a second skin to me. Black leather pants and a jacket, on the back of which there was a number "115" in the form of a flame, and birches with a wide sole. Leaving the room, I moved along the indicated route towards the arena. Another passage, similar to the doors to the rooms, is just bigger. Two knives similar to Hunter's were hanging crisscrossing over it. Entering it, I got into the corridor, which goes around the whole arena. "If I go to the right, I'll go upstairs to the observation deck, and if to the left - then on the arena itself." When I entered the arena, I was amazed: a huge dome-shaped hall, thirty meters high, the walls and a dome are made of granite, from which fresh blood was already dripping, various structures were built on the ground from pillars to two-story houses. Behind one of them suddenly there was a wild squeal, and the beheaded body of the monster went on a flight to the first building. After a while the Hunter himself came out from there, shaking his hands and cleaning the blood from the window of the cabin. "At last you have come!" I already had time to warm up. - Gray was in a good mood. - Welcome to the arena, where now you spend a lot of time before you can go on a real hunt or task. In the meantime, go to the observation deck and watch. I will now have the last fight for today. - he took me in his hand and, clinging to the edge of the platform with the other hand, like a doll, put me on it, and then, jumping off, went to the center of the arena. Stopping, he took from behind a thirty-millimeter automatic gun and shouted: "Release targets!" A massive grate rose and from there two wolfhounds sprang out with the berserker fury. They rushed to find the victim in all directions. And Gray, meanwhile, stood with his back to the one-story wooden barn and waited with his weapons at the ready. Seeing the first wolfhound in a hundred meters between the buildings, he took aim and three shots of explosive shells turned The head of the monster in porridge, but the second he did not have time to react. Wolfhound rushed to Hunter from the back through the wooden wall of the shed, scattering it into chips and knocking Gray off his feet. He tried to shoot a monster, but he overtook him, hitting him in claws at the weapon and breaking it in half. The creature, clenching his hand into a fist, struck the cabin with a swing so that the frame on the sturdy panoramic window slightly bent and the glass cracked, and then grabbed his leg and tossed him into a stone one-story house that, when a multi-ton robot struck his wall, immediately collapsed , Flinging stones at the Hunter.

- Well, everything, he got me! I'm driving! Ranlog cursed and, taking control of himself, with one sharp movement, broke out from under the dam and extracted the very two rune knives.

- Well, go to Daddy, scum! Wolfhound, having issued a terrifying roar, rushed at him madly. But the spirit in the robot was an order of magnitude faster. Evading a lethal jump and a series of claws on the body, he slashed the monster over his throat and chest with knives, and then, with one stroke, both blades drove him into the stomach. Wolfhound gave a heartbreaking roar, and Ranlog, meanwhile, with complete cruelty, tore his heart from his severed chest, and, pressing the monster and kneeling, smeared his head against the wall with a direct blow of his foot. The decapitated body slid down, and only a minute later, Gray was able to control the Hunter again. Approaching me, the cabin opened, and he got out of the robot, not ceasing to argue with Raglog. "... As always, you do not let me deal with them to the very end!" Hardly so, so you - here, as here! "You've been smeared on the ground, and I do not intend to lose this device because of you!"

- Ranlog cooled and, judging by the intonation, immediately smiled.

- Well, prove that they did not get off badly anyway! I liked it, I will not argue.

- That's for sure. Wolfhounds are powerful creatures. Anyway, I would have them both myself.

- Oh well. And for me, after you, Hunter would be in parts a group of technicians gathered around the arena, a hero! How the girl is ruled! "Go on your ass, Ranlog!" Gray shouted at him and both burst out laughing suddenly.

- Well, you guys, and the presentation was given here.

- I was shocked how quickly they dealt with such strong creatures. "What's that?" Gray grinned. "Compared to a chimera, an angel or a demon, it's just puppy!" Well, do not want to steer?

- Yeah, get up.

- Ranlog was in good shape, apparently the fighting raised his spirits. "It will be fun, you'll see for yourself." He opened the Hunter's cabin, and I jumped into it from the observation deck. When I sat comfortably, the cabin closed, my body was fixed by my belts with my belts, and on the panoramic window that was at the full height of the cabin, all the numbers caught fire, probably indicating the distance to the targets. A map of the area with motion detectors, a sight and all lists was also displayed, and there was not a single lever, button or any other visible method to control.

- Do not search. Rangol's voice rang in the cab. - He is guided by thought. You think how to act, I pass your thoughts to the robot processor, and it already does what you tell it to.

- It's clear. And what is this single button under the seat?

- This is the button for transferring full and permanent control to me. But only who will press it? Me and so here in secret from the inquisitors. They lack only a demon in the fortress. They Hunter and disassemble the screw immediately. "Are not you afraid the Inquisition will find out about you?" "Not a drop." They never come here, too disgusting to be in a place soaked in magic and guts. And they also do not go to the technical unit, convinced that it is guarded by a robot with a divine spirit inside. "Enough already!" Its time to begin! - shouted from the observation deck in anticipation of Gray. - Open the cage! The grate rose again, and from under it ran a few eerie creatures with wool, the colors of the blue sky. "Gray, are you laughing?" Who did you slip me to? But he just watched, and in the meantime a small animal ran up to me and stared at Hunter. But something in this harmless creation was not so ... And not even that his hair was sky-blue velvet color and on his head there were small horns ... His tail sparkled! Running close, he only touched the foot of the Hunter, as a bright flash occurred, and a powerful discharge of electrical energy pierced the robot, knocking out a sheaf of sparks and forcing it to fall on his knee. - Idiot! It's not your Earth! Ranlog swore at me. "It's the Electricians." The only kind of merged animal spirits possessing magic. I do not know why, but usually they are only small animals and they settle in, and very rarely others in the other. But even merging with such, they are extremely dangerous. To fry a man who has forgotten, like you, to spit them once. Kill them all until they hacked me to the Hunter! "And how?" "Climb that stone house." I mentally ordered the robot to move, but he did not listen. "Why does not he listen to me?" - You do not order, but imagine, as if it were you, and act. I did it. The hunter rose with surprising ease, as if he were not seven tons, but a kilogram seventy, like me, and ran to the house. Clutching the edge, I jerked to his roof. She cracked, but she did. These little creatures are crowded around the walls, but no one tried to get me, but only waited with hungry lazami. "This asshole released them so quickly that I did not even have time to tell you about armament." At Hunter, in addition to their own foolishness and camouflage, not without my help, now there are flamethrowers, folding silver spear, two shestidesyatimillimetrovyh "Colt", my favorite rune knives, order from the dwarves, killing almost any scum with a spirit inside, and most recently was Another automatic cannon with silver bursting cartridges. What will you choose? "Come on, flamethrowers."

- As you say. - the back of the hand parted and from there came out the mechanisms with tubes, unfolding into deadly guns. Decaying, at the ends of the trunks were horned skulls, from the lower fangs of which small lights burned. Flamethrowers reliably secured under their hands.

- Burn, dear! Ranlog laughed malevolently. Without descending from the roof, I poured on the heads of these deadly animals the torrents of a flaming, flaming liquid, burning them in dozens. In seconds, I turned them into ashes, a stone in the glass and melted steel in my eyes. Truly, flamethrower is a terrible weapon. It ended quite quickly, but by that time, all around fifteen meters was burned and melted. When all was quiet, Ranlog was quickened.

- Proteins fried in their own juice, served to the table! Although, it would be something to serve, except for ash and puddles of iron. He laughed again. Without thinking twice, I approached Gray, sitting on the viewing platform, sipping beer of his own preparation, and watching what was happening with a cynicism and a slight grin. Opening the cockpit, I got out of it, went up to him and looked at him with an outraged look, but did not say a word at first, since I was still under the impression. "What are you staring at?" Well, I would rate you for a C grade with a huge minus.

- Well, you and ......!

- I was angry with him, that was strong.

- What did you think? Attack can suddenly. Gray stopped grinning and patted me on the shoulder approvingly. "Do not be so nervous." I, too, was terribly stupid for the first time, only I was not in the arena, but in battle, on assignment. He smiled in a friendly way. "Do you want to try it again, or have you already baked it?"

- With a call in his voice he said. I readily agreed. Adrenaline, as never before, played blood. Zaprygnuv into the cabin, I climbed down from the site and went to the center of the arena. Climbing the roof of the stone house, I began to wait for another lifting of the grate. "So, whoever to release for you ..." Gray stared at the touch screen of his wrist computer, flicking his finger along it. - It's not that, it's not the same ... And this one's too ... Oh, I found it. Duty! Release Goliath! The grate rose and it shocked me: a monster squeezed through the gate from the cage - he leaned on his half-bent legs and slowly went free. Having disintegrated, it became about eight meters high, from the back to the top, with horrible scythe blades, long limbs protruded. The body said that once he was also a man, and a face with a single eye was mutilated by mutations so that it vaguely resembled a human. The thunderous roar spread throughout the arena, almost deafening me, despite the fact that I was sitting inside the hermetic cabin of the Hunter.

- Ohrenet! Here it is a creature! Well, thank you, Gray!

- Yes, do not drift.

- It was felt that the spirit was already in anticipation of the upcoming battle. "You do what I say, and we'll quickly get it down." The giant creature began to wander around the arena, smashing one after the other of the small buildings. "Why does not he attack?"

- Because I turned on the disguise. He does not see us yet, but he feels and is already looking. When I take it off, it's necessary to act quickly, otherwise it will simply crush us. Solve it sooner, because in such a pace in two minutes it will reach us. Remember, he needs to cut the cervical vertebrae, otherwise it will quickly overgrow.

- All right, Ranlog. We'll see what happens. From the minute and a half I calculated the plan for the attack, then ordered him "Ready!". The disguise turned off, and the goliath immediately goggled at us with his huge bloodshot eye. I quickly removed the object from the belt with a cylindrical shape, which in my hand instantly decomposed into a sparkling spear, and threw it with all my might into it. It went deep into his head, but it got stuck there without breaking the occipital bone of the skull. The monster roared with pain, and I meanwhile rushed at him. Although blind, but still surviving and perfectly hearing the Goliath, conducted a crushing blow with his long claw for us ahead of time. I barely had time to stop, as this horrifying limb swept through my eyes and entered the granite floors of the arena a meter. I abruptly skirted it, ran up behind, and taking advantage of the fact that its claw was stuck in granite, jumped without hesitation on the giant's back, grabbing the bases of his deadly limbs-braids. But as soon as I got to his neck to cut it, how the monster freed itself, and, seizing me, threw me with such force that I flew like a toy, knocking myself three columns, crushed under me two wooden sheds, and crashed into a stone shed A block, split it in half. At me already in eyes dulled. At this moment, within the Hunter, Ranlog was quickened, hitherto only observing. "That's enough for you today!"

- he threw and, assuming the control of the Hunter, jumped up and rushed three times faster than me. With unimaginable agility, he dodged a mighty blow with his hand, then with a few more attacks of the monster, and jumping in, jerking him two knives at once in the back, climbing up, like ice axes on a steep ice floe. Goliath threw back his hand, trying to grab his abuser, but Ranlog freed the knife and stabbed him in the brush with a lightning blow. The monster roared and pulled away his hand, taking with it the blade thrust into it. Meanwhile, while Goliath was busy with his hand, the Spirit, clutching the second knife with both hands, pulled closer to the monster's neck and grabbed hold of it. Without hesitation, he took out the Colt and, pointing it at point-blank range into the giant's vertebra, began to thrust one bullet after another into the neck. A terrible victim of another unsuccessful deal with the spirit first wheezed, and then fell lifelessly face forward. When the head touched the ground, the silver spear, seated at the beginning of the fight, breaking through the skull, came out of his neck. After some time, Ranlog calmed down, and I again managed to take control of the Hunter by myself. I carefully made every move, as the wave of adrenaline still held me with my icy grip. Taking out a knife from the dead flesh of the giant, I stuck it in a heap of earth, and then pulled it out to wipe it off with blood, and put both knives in the sheathed sheath. The spear was much harder to get: it took a lot of effort, even for the Hunter, to get it out of the thick skull of Goliath, but in the end the spear gave in and slipped out of the mortally-strong grasp of his bones. When the wave of adrenaline came down from my consciousness, followed by a wave of anger at Gray. Judging by the sudden smell of sulfur, Ranlog fully shared my feelings. When he reached the observation platform, Ranlog opened the cabin for me, and I jumped out of it, looking angrily at Gray. And he, in turn, only looked disappointed at Ranlog, pretending that we had a little pity. "Ranologist, again you interfere ahead of time." - Gray was upset. "I asked you, only in case of emergency ..."

- Yes, that was the case! Ranlog interrupted him sharply. "What tree did you fall down from, what did you release this car for the siege?" He would have crushed me and Alex and now he has not noticed! He told Gray. "Let's exaggerate, Ranlog." Alex almost coped, and even from the first time, which is already a very good indicator. And the fact that he was mistaken in the last act ... Well, who does not happen. Said Gray ironically.

- Yes you went with such jokes! - blurted out the spirit, but after a short pause in this quarrel, he tried to show the middle finger to the offender, but as trying to fold the fact out of four fingers, the robot's hand was very awkward, they both burst out laughing. I was not offended that they talked among themselves, as if I was not here, because their dialogues calmed down and even in some places amused. With this my exasperation was gone, and I quickly picked up the friendly spirit of this couple.

- Well, for the first time, I think, you will have enough impressions. Gray slapped me on the shoulder with a smile on his face. "Do not drift, after a few months, Rang and me, we'll make a first-class Hunter from you, you'll see." "He's talking business." - added Ranlog.

- Come on, I'll go while in those. Block, I will fix and observe. See you tomorrow.

- With these words he turned and walked along the corridor to the exit, and a few meters later he threw over his shoulder:

- And with you, Gray, bastard, painting!

- Okay, okay, until tomorrow! Gray shouted after him. I already was ready to go to my room, too, when he suddenly turned his attention to me. "Alex, wait a little, hold on." It's good that Ranlog was the first to leave, I wanted to talk to you, face to face, without him.

- his expression took on a serious, almost like it was in the cell, the view.

- What happened? "So far, nothing, but according to the Inquisition and my intelligence, there was a murder tonight." Five people were killed, all burned to the ground. We with the inquisitor Uriel suppose that this is the escaped obsessed Waldemar. An hour ago, a message came to me on the minicomputer that Uriel had issued a general order for his murder.

- Curious. And why did you want to tell me this without Rangol's presence? You're friends.

- I still could not get to the bottom of the problem.

- Not in this case. Electric animal spirits settle mostly into small things, which is no less strange, but there are units that are looking for other vessels. One of them moved into that poor fellow who was in prison. Moreover, it is in a gifted person. We killed five already, in whom he settled, and this - the sixth. But the first one who was already with abilities. Now he is many times more dangerous than before, and in addition, he managed to escape. In the debates about obsession, Rangom and I differ in our views. He'll tell you about it later, if he wants, but that's not the point. I want to ask you a favor. - Go on. I did not interrupt his thought, completely interested in his "favor". "When we find out for sure that these deaths are on Waldemar's conscience and find out where he is hiding, Uriel will no doubt entrust this task to you, and I ask you - as soon as you see Wald, kill him without hesitation until he killed you." Together with the spirit, he has a truly terrible power.

"I'll see what I can do, Gray."

- such a request made me a little tense and troubled. "Understand, I will not get anything done." I already can not find a common language with Ranlom, as before. We have disagreed with him over the years in his outlook on life. And he really liked you. Did you see how quickly he managed to control the Hunter, protecting you? He shielded me in front of me. You are perfect with him. This is a task for you with him. Until then, I'll train you so that you can fully "feel" the Hunter.

- Gray paused, allowing me to digest the information I received, and then continued.

- Okay, so far, enough for now. Go, rest and sleep. After today, a good sleep will not hurt you. For you, he was so, in general, probably full of impressions.

- After uttering the last sentence, Gray smiled in a friendly way.

- Yeah, it will not hurt. I agreed. "See you tomorrow, Gray."

- Till tomorrow! - he said to me in return, and I walked towards the exit of the arena, to deal with the household issues of my room, which I now had in bulk ... The next morning did not start very well: I did not get a strong clank of metal and a worker's mate breaking through it, The other side of the door. Laying down the first thing I found in the refrigerator built in the wall, I put on my uniform and with the mood of a bear awakened in the middle of the winter, went out to see what was happening in the technical block. But what I saw quickly took this negative attitude off me and even made me smile a little: around the round platform, in the middle of which stood Ranlog with Gray sitting in his open cubicle, scamping without stopping the equipment with various tools and small manipulator control panels that helped them repair the Hunter . From this bustling bustle, Ranlog encouraged them with his harmless, in his opinion, jokes, and they continually fought at him every time, because of his fault, they could not do something. "Oh, Alex!" I'm glad to see you! Shouted Gray, waving his hand at me, and Ranlog stopped and the Hunter immobilized. "Come along, do not be shy." What are you doing? - Yes, nothing. I look around. And Ranlog was silent?

- He now checks the work of Hunter's systems from the inside along with the techniques. "Why are we always underground?" Do not you get released to the surface?

- They let out, why. Only no one wants to go up there. We were blessed by the Inquisition for work with technology and spirits, and therefore the common people strongly dislike our group, and especially us with you, because we are directly contacting the churchmen. And here everything is all mine and everything is quiet. That's how we live. "It's nasty, you will not say anything." Listen, why does the Inquisition execute even those who are not obsessed? That poor fellow, Wald, who was in the next cage with me, was pure, and the magic was exclusively from nature. And yet he wanted to be executed. "You see, these are special people, and the spirits have an increased interest in them. Here is the inquisition of them and is afraid that if there are so many, they will fly off the reels, seize the castle, destroy everything to hell and everything else in this spirit.

- And who in the castle rules then?

"Formally, King Roderick, but everyone knows that the real power is concentrated among the inquisitors."

- People do not change anywhere!

- I grinned. "And why, then, would they not be pushing their teachings among gifted people?" Would strengthen their faith instead of executions. They would have become a siege weapon for churchmen. "An interesting idea, Alex, but they are unlikely to agree." Although you can offer them only when you grow up. Gray winked at me for a moment. In general, Hunter looked already quite well-adjusted, except that they did not have time to paint. Having finished their work, the technicians moved away from the platform and went to their cars. Gray jumped out of the cockpit and, approaching the terminal installed near the platform at the manipulator, quickly began typing on his keyboard unknown combinations to me. "Ranlog, are you done?" Gray asked.

- That's all.

- Ranlog relieved the pressure, releasing the steam, thereby exhaling. "It's good that the central core has not suffered." This is important. "Well, what color are you going to color this time?"

- Gray continued to press something, he buried himself in the terminal monitor.

- Come on in black with a pale blue flame on the edges of the panoramic window? "Yeah, you'll also weld the horns on the cab." Gray sneered. "I'm afraid the Inquisition will not appreciate it."

- Why so much sarcasm? Ranlog was upset. "They have such a flame with holy fire, as far as I know."

- And against a black background, yes?

- And on the white horse-radish I'll give you! He snapped. "I'll clean the first corner to the piece of iron."

- Well, then, as usual, in matte green I will paint. After selecting the desired function, Gray pressed the button and started the manipulators. They began to apply paint evenly and quickly in their mechanical dance to the hunter's body. After completing the work, they formed four times and disappeared into the bottom of the platform. Ranlog got off her and, clasping his hands in the castle, stretched.

- Ha! Like New! He roared cheerfully.

- But as always. - and, laughing, hit his fist on the fist, that all the people present in the hangar turned to the roar. "Well, if everything is all right with you and Hunter, I'll go to my room." I want to check something.

- With these words, Gray went to his room with a quick pace. "Alex, do not you want to go now?" Ranlog asked suddenly, turning to me.

- Probably not. And what? "Come with me to the arena." I want to show you something.

- Lead. - I jumped to Hunter, and he took me to his destination.

All the buildings in it have already been restored, and the corpses of the monsters are removed. Even the traces of yesterday's fighting did not remain. The service staff worked on the glory. Approaching one of the walls of the arena, Ranlog pressed a metal plate into it, and at the last moment I noticed two large gate flaps in the wall, which parted with a gnash and disappeared into it. - Well, how about you? Take a look. He opened the cockpit and dropped me off.

- Oh wow! - Strangely stunned by what I saw, I even whistled. This room turned out to be a warehouse for Hunter's weapons. It was well equipped and lit. A door opened in the ceiling and a robot in the shape of a metal skull with small manipulator arms and a small six-barreled machine gun sticking out under the jaw left it.

- Please log in. The car said in an indifferent steel voice.

- Ranlog. The object "OMEGA 666".

- Accepted, object 666. - said the device, when suddenly the laser from the left eye-sight put a red dot between my eyes and the machine gun empty-handed began to rotate viciously.

- To leave! This guest is the new pilot of the Witch Hunter, Alexey Filippov. Add to the list of admitted persons.

- Accepted. The laser went out and the machine gun froze in place. "What does the lord want?" - Acquaintance. Your help is not needed.

- Accepted. - The robot retired immediately after these words, closing the door behind him. "Thank you, Ranlog." I almost did not do it. "But it's safe." - the spirit, in a grin, exhaled. I was amazed to inspect the contents of this warehouse. Basically there were cold weapons: knives, swords and sabers. There was even the pride of Rangolog - a double-edged ax. Then came the revolvers, the newly assembled automatic cannon, flamethrowers, electric cannons and even a detachable missile system. All weapons were impressive in size. "Are they all of silver?" - I was surprised at such a waste of precious metal.

- Practically. More truly, from an alloy of silver and the titan, for durability. All cold weapons and ammunition to the gunshot, except missiles. "You can go crazy."

- Like? - Ranlog was pleased with my impression.

- Still would! - Only we are forbidden to use many toys from this collection. Only in case of defense of the castle. And only the staff armament.

- Jams! - this news even upset me.

- Yeah, I do not argue. In general, I'm here with you that's what I wanted to talk about.

- Ranlog began to speak a little quieter and already much more serious than a moment ago.

- When you podnataskeshsya in the control of the Hunter, you are sent to the task?

- Overheard, then? I quipped. "Do not judge me, boy."

- his voice sounded hard and hard, but still it was more like a request than a call. "I have a request for you, Alex." I hope I can treat you as a friend. He spoke softly again.

- What do you need? - I was surprised by his behavior. "When we meet this beast, Walda, do not kill him immediately." Did the demon have a feeling of compassion?

- I even cheered with such a statement. "Why are they always the same?" Ranlog said, bemused.

- You have too banal notions about Angels and Demons. But not about that. Well, so what about the request? "Is he obsessed?" The monster, which you personally kill dozens in the arena. "If he really is, then I will not interfere." But there is a chance that he could "profit" for himself to make a deal.

- What is it like? - this information would probably be news for all creatures in Lostgarde.

- In this case, the spirit remains only a voice in the head and manifests itself only in case of mortal danger, and in the rest of the time the person himself always controls the body. Do you understand? It's the same person! Only externally a little changed, but the soul is not affected in this case. If so, then he does not deserve to die.

- Convincing. Did you talk with Gray about the fact that they are able to completely keep the mind?

- Said, of course, only he does not believe in it, because we have not met such, unfortunately. Spirits are not stupid and usually keep silent about it. But some people so much want to move into certain carriers, which is also offered by such conditions. "And do you hope that Valdemar has been offered such conditions by the spirit?"

- I hope so. But if it's just a monster, I'll help you finish it off. As usual.

- Good. You can rely on me. I conceded to him.

- You are a good person. This is bad. Divine spirits are averse to such.

- Ranlog for a few seconds stopped, and then came to life again. "That's what they decided, but for now it's enough." Gray in the arena.

- Ranlog! Urgently blow in the technical unit, and then in the storehouse of souls, scan for the presence of strangers. Strong vigilance for all staff And for visitors, connect to the surveillance system and monitor all cameras and sensors. Gray was worried and very worried. "Gray, slow down." What happened?

- looking at him, interspersed with the evil and frightened, I myself became uncomfortable. Ranlog, meanwhile, silently left to carry out the order. "We have lost three demonic spirits from the storehouse of souls today." And looking at the reports, this is the fourth time already. But then only one disappeared, and now three at once! I'm afraid that someone specially abducts them.

- That's it! "But things really seemed very bad ..." "Now Ranlog will check everything, and I'm going to the Inquisitor with a report, and even to consult." If you want, we go with me, at the same time with him you'll share your idea, you'll suddenly like it.

- Of course, we are. Going out to the network of tunnels from those. Block, Gray and I went through a lot of turns to reach the elevator leading to the tower of the Inquisition. The elevator was arranged modestly, and did not differ in size, a maximum of eight people.

- Yes, and more, so as not to be surprised: in our leather clothes for all the inquisitors we look like dumb savages and barbarians, and that supposedly we are a little better than the possessed by behavior. Among them, only Uriel is a normal person, the good they have is their main. We go to him.

- Yeah. You have fun living. I suspected they were cattle, but I did not think so. "And I'm not complaining." The main thing is that I'm friends with Uriel, and on the others I put from a high bell tower. Gray grinned for a moment, then turned sullen and troubled again.

- Well, here we are. The elevator stopped almost on the very top floor, where the library of the Inquisition and the cell of Uriel was located. It was gloomy: huge wardrobes with scrolls and folios towered almost to the ceiling, on the floor and reading tables were candlesticks of different sizes with a base of artificial skulls, and not only human. Everything here smelled of Gothic. Only the roots of books and two windows with frescoes depicting the eternal struggle of people with nonhumans (necromancers and the possessed) were full of flowers. Behind one of the tables sat two men in robes, not like the inquisitors. As Gray explained, they were novices. They looked up from the study of the scrolls and scornfully followed us to the door to the cell. It was discovered to us by Uriel himself and surprisingly good-naturedly invited us to his place. For the elder inquisitor, he lived modestly. His cell was not much different from the room in which I lived. He put out a table, laid out lunch on it, and invited us to join him. "What's bothering you, my friend?" I look you are very worried. The inquisitor finally broke in silence. "We have something very strange going on in the technical block, Uriel." From the storehouse of souls, the demonic spirits began to disappear from time to time. And neither I nor Ranlog can compute the cause of their disappearance. I'm at a loss, to be honest. "Do not despair, Dorgey. - the inquisitor looked absolutely unflappable and friendly, although this news aroused strong interest in his soul. "This is a very sad news, my friend." But it's worth Consider another option: we know practically nothing about the nature of their existence. It is possible that they too are mortal and death comes even after them.

- And why only demonic?

- One more question without an answer. This worries me, too. You did the right thing that you came to me. We will conduct our own investigation on the surface, and in the departments of inquiry and conclusion. And you and Ranglom search the whole network of tunnels.

If they are really kidnapped, we should be aware. He took a glass of wine and, without haste, drank half. "Uriel, do you remember the young man you gave me in trust for training?" I want to say, he justifies our hopes and he has one interesting idea, worthy of attention. "Well, child, I listen to you carefully if Dorgey vouches for you." Uriel stroked his small, neat gray beard, which did not fit into the image of a forty-six-year-old man. "Inquisitor, first I would like to thank you for releasing me, a" special "person.

- I tried to speak confidently, but carefully, choosing each word.

- The times are very restless now and we can not risk it. People have already become fewer times, in comparison with other races and creatures. I hope you should understand this.

- And why do you execute gifted people then? They are pure souls. They have a gift, not a curse.

- This is the trouble. Spirits most of all crave such people, because together they are ten times stronger and more dangerous than if the spirit merges with a simple person. A good example was a few days ago, in prison.

- He agreed with him on the deal only because he was doomed ... He was ready to die a man. You deprived them of their faith and, instead of respecting you, instilled in their hearts the fear of being executed at any moment just because they were born like that. Inquisitor, may I ask if you have gifted people in the dungeon? - Six. Their fate is still being decided. So what's your idea, young man?

- You could stop persecution, help them gain faith. Belief in your ideas. In fact, they are absolutely the same people as all of us. Uriel was sitting with a glass of wine, still unperturbed, but judging by the fact that he did not stop me, the idea interested him.

- Free them. Advocate among them about the protection of families with their help, that obsession, terrible evil, and that it must be fought against, and through the time other people reached out to you. In case of an attack, you will have a strong ally, and avoid unnecessary casualties.

- I parted, but realizing it, immediately stopped. Uriel paused for a few minutes, pondering what he had heard, and then turned again to me. "There is wisdom in your words, my friend, beyond the years." But I'm afraid I can not promise you anything, except that I'll think about your words. The Inquisitor looked at me for a while, then Gray. "Well, since we've decided everything, please join my dinner." We had no right to refuse his offer. Unlike the cell, his dinner was gorgeous: on the tray was a creature in a roasted state, the size of a turkey and decorated with various greens. In neighboring Plates were all kinds of sauces, and for dessert there was fruit on the stand. Gray's appetite, it could be concluded that this carcass was very tasty, as it turned out. After dinner with us, Uriel escorted us to the elevator, leaving us with only "Keep you Creator, friends." On that we said goodbye. We reached with Gray to the technical unit without incident. Entering the hangar, we went to look for Ranlog, but he found us first, appearing, as usual, as if from the air, behind our backs. "What news, Gray?" He said boredly.

- First you. - Nothing. That is absolutely. Not a single spirit is seen anywhere except storage, but even there it is deaf, only the sensors from the sulfur scale up, but it is clear why. In the technical unit, too, everything is quiet, nothing suspicious. "The Inquisitor has two versions." The first is that they die by their death ...

- Bullshit! Ranlog interrupted. "We can not die ourselves and it's extremely difficult to kill in this condition!" We can be expelled. And then with someone else's help.

- Then everything is bad. In this case, someone steals spirits, it is really unknown who, why, and where he hides them. "I was scanning the cameras in the vault, and apart from the service staff, there was no one there, and the spirits in the eyes dissolve in the air. "Have you checked this group?"

- Of course. All are clean.

- It's strange. Then there were tunnels. Take Alex and comb the entire western part, and I'm eastern.

- Distributing the work, Gray went along the hangar.

- Let's go to. He will soon come up. Said Ranlog and opened the cabin. I jumped into it and, having taken control, went to the hermovraty of the hangar leading in the tunnels. Gray did not take long to wait. With a wild roar, or rather a squealing of the engine, a two-wheeled "iron horse" jumped out from behind a row of cars, carrying it at a furious speed. Giving the brakes, Gray stopped in front of us, rising to the front wheel. Outwardly it looked like a converted mountain cross bike.

- Well, how about you my baby? He collected himself. He said proudly.

- Completely yourself, the unit!

- I appreciated. Looking closely, he noticed that he did not have a silencer. "Where's the silencer?" "He does not need him." The engine is electric, and the charge gives an electrician in a container that instead of a gas tank. His fool enough to develop a crazy speed.

- Gray demonstratively at a neutral speed gave the engine a large number of revolutions, that he screamed, reaching almost to whistle. "Open the gate, Ranlog, why wait!" Massive hermovrata with a gnash of steel began to move along the rails in different directions, and in the barely appeared gap, with a wild whistle and standing on the rear wheel, Gray rushed off into the darkness, disappearing in seconds. "A riff-raff!" Ranlog shouted after him.

When the gate opened completely, we moved in the tunnels. At the fork in the left corridor, a map of the network of tunnels appeared in front of my face, and multicolored points of various sizes ran across it.

- What is it?

- I asked.

- Alive organisms. I constantly receive information from sensors installed in tunnels, and from my own. We are in the center. Vaughn, in the east, through three sections from us and Gray is rushing. Friends are marked with green dots, hostile to the red, and unidentified creatures - black. Look, the elevator is rubbing the three inquisitors. It's good that they are on Gray half. - while Ranlog explained, I noticed that there was a small red spot on the path of Dorghray, about a hundred meters from him. "Careful." You have something on the way ... - but before I had time to finish how he reached this point, and she went out, and he, without stopping, drove on.

- What you have there?

- Yes, some gopher-overgrown someone. No more eating. Nothing. Gray laughed at the connection. "What have you got?"

- Quiet, as in the morgue. "Until the connection." We passed four more corridors, as Ranlog stopped the Hunter.

- What did you stand up for?

- Wait a bit. Now you will see. A moment later, a growl sounded from the darkness, and a black dot flashed on the map. Then the growl subsided, but the sound of the working hydraulics began to be heard. I lighted the searchlights mounted in the Hunter's cabin in the direction of the sound and was a little shocked: ten meters away from me was exactly the same robot in which I was, only a meter and a half below. "You said that one, Ranlog?" "I am the only one." This is G'tog, in Elvish. "Who?" "Simply put, a werewolf. It turns into everything that sees itself more dangerous. I do not know what to merge with the spirit, so that such a creature appears, and how they do it, but they are here on the tunnels by the shaft. Some people think that they are materialized animal spirits, but I have not heard about this personally. - And what should I do?

- Nothing. For Hunter it is harmless. The creature jerked off and jerked toward me. Zaprygnuv on the hunter's cabin, he began to deal, as it seemed, crushing blows, but in fact they were like an elephant pellet. Only the paint tore off.

- Even funny. Prove it, Alex? - Ranlog laughed, and the werewolf even more furiously began to beat the robot and began to try in vain to wrest hydraulics.

- Well, we've been pampered and enough. - He grabbed the "werewolf" by the foot and threw it against the wall with all his strength. He crashed to the ground with a roar. "This is for the paint, the bastard is helpless."

- Having said this, the spirit crushed the creature and Smeared it on the ground, wiping his foot.

- Well, what are pure spirits? Some guts on the floor. He remarked with sarcasm. After this meeting for another two hours we wandered along the corridors of tunnels, periodically choking under ourselves all the mutant spirits of small creatures that scratched Rangologist with all the paint on the Hunter, and just walked, wasting away chatting with each other. "Rahlog, Alex, get in touch!"

- Gray's voice sounded in the booth. - Here we are, dear. Ranlog quipped. I always liked to listen to how they communicated with each other. "What have you got?" Found what? "They came upon one G'tog, and every insect." Nothing unusual. "I have nothing, either." Okay. We return to the technical unit, we need to rest. Tomorrow into the arena, train. "You'll paint me first!" "You can not afford to paint on you!" While you are so like, do not fall apart.

- Well, the hell with you! Ranlog was offended. "Till tomorrow, guys." Said Gray, and the connection stopped. Making sure that there was none of his own on the way to the hermoraut, Ranlog, that was strong, jerked towards them, having developed speed, probably, giving way to Gray's bike a little. Literally flying into the technical unit, he unloaded me and we parted good-bye. I went to my room, took a shower, ate dinner, and fell into bed. Tomorrow again, training ...

Chapter 3: Meeting

Every day I got used to the Hunter more and more, and by the end of training I already felt like in it, like a fish in the water. Ranlog says that training is much easier for me than for Gray - but that's not surprising, he was training in wild places and in a flash, and I'm in the arena and according to plan. It lasted about one and a half months. Moreover, judging by the reports and abuse of Dorghray, a third of all the demonic spirits had already disappeared from the storehouse of souls, and no trace, no Gray, Ranlog, or even Uriel, with all their inquisition, could find. This fact seriously disturbed all the people who were initiated into it. But, it is not known why, Ranlog worried about it most of all. To inquire about this, he only sarcastically and joked. This day, like many previous ones, we spent with Gray and Ranlog in training. In the arena I already fought with most of the creatures caught by them. In my opinion, the most dangerous opponents were demons. The angels, although they were surprisingly strong and cruel when it came to battle, but in a thirst for blood and variety, they seriously succumbed to them.

And now I stood in the middle of the arena in anticipation of another opponent, which Gray will release on my soul. But this time the Hunter was ready. I was ready. From the huge speakers located on the viewing platform, Gray's voice rumbled loudly throughout the arena: "Well, boys and girls!" It's time for real fun! Down with the bored duel - we begin the gladiator fights! For some reason, at that moment, these words sounded like a verdict. Given the already habit of his antics and "surprises", I tried not to lose my peace. But, as usual, the instinct did not disappoint me. The massive grate began to rise, and only halfway through, as from under her on the webbed wings flew a terrible creature with straight, protruding horns, eerie claws and sharp fangs instead of the usual teeth. When the monster landed and, standing on hoofs, straightened up, at the withers it was about four meters, the skin on the body was missing completely, bareing the muscles and joints on it. "The demon again?" Gray, you're repeating yourself. I said cynically.

- Well, you have to tinker, like last time. "You're relaxing very early, son." Ranlog corrected me maliciously.

- According to my information, that's not all. When the lattice rose completely, out of the cage, unhurriedly, slightly bent, came out the second Knight of Hell, with a look much more impressive than his frisky brother. This five-meter giant was walking with a slow, heavy step, examining the space surrounding it. Unlike the first demon, this horn was twisted and much larger, an intimidating cape of strange material resembling the skin hung from the shoulders, the eyes were completely black, and the body, like a shell, covered the skin that was rough to the point of stone. A little later, when in one movement his cloak, turning around, turned into two giant wings, I finally became uncomfortable.

- Nichrome yourself!

- I already whistled. "Well, Ranlog, not a day without entertainment!" Turning on the disguise, I began to search for the hill to gain time and consider the plan for the attack. Considering with what excitement this bloodthirsty couple began to look for their victim, he had no choice but to think. Having climbed the one-story house on the first column I found, I began to observe their behavior.

The demons for a few more seconds wandered the earth, destroying the flimsy of the buildings, then the largest of them soared above the arena, rising to the very top of it, and began to look for me with Ranlom, and the second began to fly high above the ground, periodically diving over the very roofs of the buildings and cutting off the unstable columns with powerful wings, if such came across on the way, hoping to find, and if possible, kill the Hunter. "The tactics of the second do not smile at all."

- it seemed to me, but before this thought came into my head, how this mountain of muscles dived right at me. In the last moment, I barely had time to bend over, as this "carcass" flew directly over Hunter's cabin. I did not have time to think about it at all. It was necessary to do something urgently, until they calculated and tore me to bits and pieces. "Well, Gray, you bastard!" After waiting for the quick demon to go on the next approach, I took out the Colt and fired at the second demon hanging under the arch, after which he rushed in free fall to meet the ground, and, calculating the trajectory of the first flight, jumped him in the attempt to intercept. Seeing me, he began to gain speed faster, putting forward his sharp horns ... To say that the collision for the two of us was unsuccessful means to say nothing. The demon stabbed the horns in the foot of the Hunter on the very grounds that deprived us both control over the situation. Like dolls, we flew to the ground at great speed, carrying everything we could get under our bodies. When they hit the ground, the horns of the demon were broken off and left to stick out in the robot's leg, after which we flew wildly in different directions with a wild crash. As soon as I could recover myself, I grabbed the knife as I went, rushed to him and jumped in the leap between the eyes, why he died before he could make a single sound. There was a deathly silence. "Did not you forget anything?" "Ranlog, who had previously been silent, remarked, and, as it turned out, on time. Suddenly the earth trembled and the tramp started to grow stronger with every second.

- Run! I barely managed to jump aside and, that was strong, I rushed to the wall. The five-meter-long demon, like a compound, swept by, smashing a couple of buildings into the chips. But by the time he stopped, I was already on the other side of the arena. "Any idea how to fill it up, Alex?"

- There is one. Just do not go.

- As you say. But if the Huntsman spouts it, and you are picked up and eaten, I'll be at you in a terrible insult! Said Ranlog.

- Yes, I understand, do not worry!

- I answered smiling with an upbeat mood from his jokes. "Well, come to me, scum!" What rose? I yelled to the demon. "I'll crush you both, worms!" Cried the monster, in a low, guttural voice, and growling, that he was pulling at me like a bulldozer. "I got the impression, Alex, that it was a bad idea ..." Ranlog said with a note of disbelief and concern. "Not now," I told him, looking forward to the next action.

- I'm leading to that, for me it was an honor to fight together with you and the like ...

- Now! - interrupting the sarcastic monologue of Rangologist, I jumped back sharply, moving away from the locomotive rushing towards me. The demon with a furious speed hit his head into the wall, causing the cracks, and the giant for a few seconds lost its orientation in space. It was an ideal moment for a retaliatory strike, and Ranfog and I decided not to delay. Going to him from behind, I with all the power that gave a powerful hydraulics, made a direct kick in the back just above the tailbone, breaking the giant of the spine, and then, immobilized, overturned to the ground. After a short but prudent breakthrough, the outcome of the battle was on my side, and, standing above the defeated but still alive enemy, I almost physically sensed it. "The death of my shell will not change anything!" - through a pain, laughing, the demon growled. Apparently, a strong attack of blind rage released him. "We'll meet again anyway and take you back to hell, Ranlog." But first, for your treachery, you will experience the most sophisticated tortures on your own skin, which we have prepared for you here in Lostgarde. He paused for a moment, then he turned to me. - And for you, hell cries, Alex. Oh yeah. We know who you are and where you come from. We'll take you too! - Not today.

- with cynicism in his voice, Ranlog, having seized control, crushed the skull of the monster with his foot, turning it into a bloody mess.

- Why did you do that?

- I was surprised.

- To know how to carry all sorts of nonsense. The spirit retorted. "They would only be afraid of people before losing their pulse." We stood next to the decapitated body, examining it. "By the way, Alex, why does hell cry for you?" "I guess I drank a lot and debauched."

- I joked.

- In general, I did not save a kitten from a tree in my childhood ...

- Yes you went! Laughed Ranlog. "I picked up on Gray, I do not care about anyone."

- Not without it. Okay, let's go to the lookout, or else he's been waiting for us. Approaching the observation platform, I already jumped on it with usual movement, after which Ranlog opened the cabin and dropped me off near Gray.

- That's how much I know you, I can not help wondering what a bastard you are.

- jumping out of the Hunter, I said in jest.

- I sometimes get the impression that you are trying to kill me specially.

- But how come! - he said with a smile of a man who just played a friend successfully. "Consider this fight your final exam." "Laughter laughs, and now you repair me, Gray." - rang into the dialogue Ranlog. - You walk normally, then the horns did not touch anything important. And the rest is secondary. - answered him Dorgrey, but catching his mood, changed his mind.

- Okay. Now I'll tell the technicians to prepare you a platform with manipulators.

- At least so. The spirit agreed contentedly. "In that case, see you guys!"

- See you! - Simultaneously, Gray and I told him after. When Ranlog disappeared behind the exit, we continued our conversation.

- By the way, after every stage of your training I sent reports with results to Uriel. He is quite pleased with your successes, and again, incidentally, yesterday I received an invitation letter from him. Alex, do you remember the six that Uriel mentioned in your long conversation? - Of course I remember. What happened?

- I asked, already guessing about the possible answer.

- Will happen. At noon today they should be executed. It's just strange ... "Gray thought.

- What exactly? "It's strange that people are invited personally to this execution, but they do not necessarily summon everyone, as usual. And we are among the invited.

- And what from this? I still could not understand him. "You see, an invitation to be executed, this is a novelty for Uriel. Usually on holidays invite, instead of on such.

- Gray withdrew his eyes and said to himself. "Uriel, what are you planning ..." "It's half past eleven in the morning on my watch." Let's go to? I asked, glancing at my wrist computer.

- Ha! By itself! Uriel definitely has something in mind, and we have to find out what. Something strange was in Gray's behavior. The way he reacted to the news of the treasury ... Maybe he guessed something, or already knew in advance? To find out for sure, I had to go with him, as, indeed, did. When we emerged from the elevator to the surface, I suddenly realized how much I had not seen the open sky and the shining sun on it. His rays burned hotly in my eyes, and I involuntarily squinted my eyes. The elevator lifted us to the outskirts of the square. It looked magnificent: it was paved with a white curly paving stone, in the center of the square, a mosaic of different types of marble, the coat of arms of the city-fortress Midran, depicting the inquisitor's hammer against the background of angel wings emitting pure light was laid out. On the walls of the stone houses surrounding the square, numerous huge tapestries, with each of them telling of a certain significant event that occurred throughout the history of the stay of mankind in Lostgarde - from the appearance of the first Hackers of the Gate to the "birth" of the Witch Hunter, dazzled with their bright colors. They were taken out and hung up only for big holidays, ceremonies and celebrations, and judging by the environment, a new tapestry will soon appear in this collection ...

- Look, Alex. Gray pointed to the crowd with his finger.

- I have not observed such a crowd of people here for a long time. I'm sure it will be interesting soon.

- And you are executed here, is it always interesting?

- I was indignant.

- Of course not! But for this too many oddities. If it were not for the scaffold, I would have decided that it was a great holiday. Let's get closer. We began to make our way through a dense mass of chaotic and perplexed people, and with great difficulty came to the front ranks. From here everything was already seen in detail: six scaffolds stood on the scaffold, on their knees, with their hands tied behind their backs and with their heads bent.

Three of them were still very young, about seventeen or nineteen, and one was a girl in general ...

At the left of them was a hangman in black armor, a blood-red helmet and a black cloak, and there were two guards at the edges of the platform, dressed In black cloaks with a hood and a painted burning lily on their backs, hiding light metal armor, polished to a mirror finish. In their hands they held rifles very similar to the weapons I saw at Hacker Gate, but much simpler in design, and from him stretched the cable to the container behind, where probably there is an electrician who gave charge to the power rifle. For a few more minutes nothing happened, but suddenly Uriel rose up the steps from the back of the scaffold to the platform.

- And here is the culprit of this celebration. - commented on what is happening Gray. "Is he really going to execute them seriously?"

- Now we will see ...

Inquisitor, in luxuriously embroidered attire, walked slowly and carefully, fully confident. To my great regret, from his stony expression it was impossible even to build an assumption about what he had in mind. Reaching the middle of the platform, he stopped and, turning to the people, made a gesture with his hand, calling him to shut up and listen to his speech. At the same instant, deathly silence fell. "Greetings, my children. - in a calm tone, but with that unusually loud, Uriel said.

- Throughout history, since the formation of our city-fortress, you many times gathered in this square to see how the holy justice was administered over the impure. But this time I personally invited you all, for this case is special. Today charged six people who are not afflicted with, or even criminals ... - but then inquisitor shouts and cries interrupted perturbed and perplexed crowd. "Brother Maron, please, please, people." He said wearily to the guard. He nodded in response and, raising his rifle, fired a powerful energy discharge. There was a deafening clap, after which everyone again fell silent instantly. "Thank you."

- he said, and then again turned to the people. "There is another sin before these people." Since their birth they have received their curse. They are endowed with demonic power and tarnished with magic. But, as I said before, this case is the first in our memory, and at my request our beloved King Roderick gave the decision of their fate to me. And I, after a lot of thinking and weighing, decided the following. - He stopped, forcing the situation, and everybody fell silent as one, with bated breath waiting for the words of a senior Inquisitor, which is likely to be the last for these poor fellows. For a few seconds, a painful silence hung, and then Uriel turned to the accused.

- Do you want to atone for your sins and serve for the good of your homeland and your home, protecting it and your families?

- All six, though not immediately, with surprise, but simultaneously nodded in agreement. "In that case, it's decided." By the authority given to me, and on behalf of King Roderick, I, Senior Inquisitor Uriel the third, release these prisoners from custody. Order to enforce immediately. People at first did not even understand what had happened. Only after a while, when people realized what had happened, a wild boom arose on the square. But among the cheering crowds and bewildered, we Gray noticed three very frustrated and angry man, and a strange figure in a ragged cloak with a hood, completely hiding his face. "I told you, it will be interesting!" - Smiling, slightly pushing my shoulder Gray.

- And now it will be even more fun. - and gave me a little wink. Yes, he knew everything! The Inquisitor silently waited for the guard to cut the rope from his hands and while the freed men would rise from their knees. As soon as they got up, with faces no less surprised, Uriel again turned to them.

- If you agree with my proposal, now stand firmly, not to bow before the danger of the head, because your life will remain difficult and full of challenges, because I name you first disciples, which give rise to the Order of the Circle of Magi.

- The Inquisitor again was silent for a while, allowing to digest this information to the stunned six. "But you will need a mentor." Lord Dorghray, Witch Hunter, come. He obediently left the crowd and, having risen, sank to one knee before Uriel. Although they were old friends, but in public, and in general, he treated him with more respect than anyone else.

"I'm here, as you ordered, sir." Gray said in a humble voice. The Inquisitor put his hand on his head and said:

- Also, by the authority given to me, I remove you from the position of the Witch Hunter and appoint a new magister for the magister. Be wise, honest and just. From now on, you are responsible for these people and for every soul under your beginning, as for your own. "I will accept it with honor, sir." "Get up, Master Dorgray.

- after which Gray rose from his knee and stood at the right hand of Uriel. Then the inquisitor turned to the new pupils. "It's the lord, and now your mentor, Master Dorgray." And although he does not possess a natural talent for magic, as you, during the long years of being a Hunter, his knowledge of it and monsters have become very great. He will be your mentor, give invaluable knowledge, help develop your talents and point the right way.

- then he gestured to the tower, quite large and tall, towering above the dense buildings of monotonous houses with a golden spire in the clouds.

- This tower will henceforth become your abode and the first in our history Circle of magicians. "So, how do you handle them?" A man in a hood shouted from the crowd.

- We are on the fire and in the noose, but now they are all good and honors ?! A young fellow from this six noticed how this man moved towards the scaffold, and whispered something to himself under his breath. The stranger drew his arm sharply, and a spike flew from his wrist with speed, akin to a bullet. But, by that time, the reaction of the guy has become more than superhuman. In an instant, he stopped the projectile by the thought of the inquisitor by the force of his thought, and then, with his hand on the arrow, began to slowly squeeze it, that from under the hood of the attacker there was an inhuman squeal of pain, and then the bones crackled, and then blood gushed forth from there. Then the guy collapsed both hands, and after a violent crunch, the stranger died off forever and fell, like a doll thrown by a puppeteer. Gray and I, and the whole crowd, were shocked by what had happened, and at that time those three suspicious people dissolved into the crowd. "The Guardian!" Examine the body, identify signs of life, establish an identity and report! Uriel said sharply. The guards immediately ran to the body, around which the people had already parted, and removed from it the hood. But instead of a head, a leather woolen bag filled with blood from blood, milled brains and bones fell out of it. "Sir, the guy turned his head into a mess." Personality can not be established, only that it is a beast, obsessed, judging by the claws, fangs and thorns with which he shot. The creature is certainly dead, sir. The seventeen-year-old boy who dealt with the attacker, weakened, turned to Uriel and guiltily inclined his head in front of him, not daring to look into his eyes. "Please forgive me, sir." I had no choice, otherwise this monster could kill, if not you, then in the future anyone.

- with reproach in his address barely spoke the guy from weakness.

- Do not blame yourself. This monster, and it deserved to die.

- A hand on the shoulder of the boy, reassured his inquisitor.

- You did the right thing, saving people from such a danger.

- then he turned to the people and, on slightly elevated tones, began to say: "Here is a good example, my children, what happens to a man when he makes deals with spirits." He is deprived of his own reason, because in his disfigured magic the body lives and thinks of an alien being. The spirit takes away his soul and in fact, a person dies, giving his own body of this monster of his own free will. I appeal to you, my children! Hearing a voice in your head, even if in a dream - do not give in to him under any pretext and do not try to trick the spirit in a deal with him. Some of them have lived centuries, and many have passed thousands of years of existence. They are incredibly clever and cunning, and will do anything to deceive you. Uriel paused for a moment, leaving the townspeople alone with his thoughts, and then he spoke to them again, but with an even, even and calm voice. "That's all, my children." Our event has come to an end. I ask you to go home.

- after which all slowly began to disperse, and two guards from the Order of the Burning Lily and the executioner went to church. In the square remained only the inquisitor, Gray, I and six lucky ones. When the people almost completely broke up, Uriel began to give the last instructions to the remaining ones. "Dorgrey, take your disciples to the tower and take care of their arrangement." For practice, by the way, your arena will perfectly suit. Moreover, for one Hunter this is too luxurious. Before you take care of their training, take the oath of allegiance from them. - Will be done. Said Gray, bowing. - All over me!

- he commanded his disciples, and they left, hiding in narrow alleys. "Alex, please follow me." - coming down from the scaffold, an inquisitor called me in an invitation. I immediately followed him. As I understood, we went to his cell, but, despite such a good completion of what was happening, he was gloomier than the clouds. Entering inside, Uriel immediately took off his luxurious apparel, changing into a robe that looked even more modest than the most ordinary inquisitorial, but at the same time much more convenient. He sat on a chair, with his back against the wall, and, closing his eyes, he lifted his head, exhaling slowly.

- Are you okay? I asked cautiously. He opened his eyes and, looking at me with a tired look, smiled faintly. "Such activities are tiresome, young Alex."

- he said evenly, but for some reason every word of it echoed from the depths of my soul. Yes, he knew how to arrange to himself.

- But everything went well? "You do not have a clue what I've been through, so that's it."

- with a touch of irony he said. "Otherwise, you would not think so." After two weeks of reflection, after talking with you and Dorgray, I tried to find support from the other inquisitors in creating the Circle of Magicians, but everyone, like one, was against it. Only thanks to the friendship with the king, after many days of discussions, I managed to persuade him to stand by my side. Under his pressure, the Inquisitors' Council could not refuse me. I took a lot of risks, young Alex, believing in your idea. Although I'm still the head of the Inquisition, but with such zeal, I'm afraid for a little while.

- I think this should not worry you anymore. In any case, your defense will stand if only a founded, but soon a powerful organization that will defend your interests.

- I put forward my opinion, but abruptly fell silent, realizing that no one had asked him from me.

- Maybe. But when this moment comes, it will take a lot of time. Life will show.

Uriel lightly animated himself, and, bending over the table, pressed the button mounted in his butt, after which the top of the table parted and a console with a large number of keys and controls came out of it, and a small projector attached to the ceiling began to unfold into several

Smaller ones that spread out across the corners of the cell and lit up, projecting in the air a three-dimensional map of all known to the people of Lostgarde territory with the explored dungeons.

In the investigated area it looked to the smallest detail, except for one unusual forest and several more no less strange places.

- But, as you already understood, I called you not to discuss me. I have a building for you.

- Uriel pressed a couple more keys, and on the road at the edge of a giant, in size trees, a forest that was located five to six hours from the fortress, a red dot caught fire. "Right here." The Inquisitor pointed a finger at her.

- Near the place where Dorgray found you, yesterday there was an attack on our caravan, which we sent to a distant outpost. It consisted of two trucks loaded with weapons and food, six fighters in quick-reaction suits and two drivers. After the attack, a drone was sent, who sent us these pictures.

- He pressed the key and in front of me began to appear images of pictures from the drone. It was a picture of the ashes: almost completely blown up by the explosion and melted trucks, in which it was barely possible to discern the remains of their drivers in the form of a burnt piece of a hand or boot, and around lay in molten armor all six of the fighters who were burnt alive in them. "Quiet horror, not otherwise ..." I said in a barely audible voice. "We suspect that this is the work of our escaped prisoner, who has become entrenched in him." Only he is capable of this. "I'm sorry, but why me?" I'm not even a Hunter, and the training has just passed. And then, formally. - By the way, about this. Dorghray now has a lot of other, more important things to do, and you've shown yourself the best of late. So you can consider yourself a full Witch Hunter. And this task will be your first test.

- Then Uriel pressed the button at the end of the table and everything went out, and the instruments returned to their original position. "Will you complete the assignment, young Alex?" "Do I have a choice?"

- Not a bad answer. And now go to yourself and get ready. Exit tomorrow at six in the morning. We said goodbye, and I went to my room, with a full head of thoughts about this assignment. The photographs of these victims of the crematorium did not come out of me, nails nailed to the brain. When I entered the room, the first thing that caught my eye was the pair of big horns on the wall, broken off the demon during the morning workout. On one of them was pinned a piece of paper with the inscription: "Your trophy, as a sign of graduation. Ranlog.

- That's my habit of dragging the remains of monsters into the room!

- I grinned. Then, having supped, I spent the whole evening cleaning the uniform and preparing the equipment. Tomorrow will be a hard day ... "Alexey ... Filippov ... From Earth ... Strong, unusual spirit, strong vessel ... We will have something to discuss ... We'll meet again, Alexei ..." I woke up in a cold sweat and with severe shortness of breath, my heart was beating in a furious rhythm . This whisper in the dream was barely discernible, but every word A deep stamp imprinted in my memory and induced animal horror at a subconscious level ... I shook my head, trying to throw the bad thoughts out of her and, rising from the bed, went under a cold shower. I put my leather uniform on the pilot, and I moved to the hangar of the unit behind Ranlog. As expected, he stood on his platform, debugged and repainted in a protective green color. Approaching closer, I noticed that all the necessary armament for the task was already on it. "Probably overheard again! And how does he always succeed? "- I thought. When he approached him closely, he also stood motionless. Deciding that he did not notice me, which in principle is impossible, I slapped him on the body with my palm.

- Good morning! I shouted at him, but he remained as silent as a statue. Then I took a forty-eight wrench that was lying next to me, hit me on the back of the Hunter with a swing. "Alex, get away from me." Groaned the spirit in a tired voice. "It's only half past five." "You'd think spirits are asleep." I remarked sarcastically.

- Nearly. I thought. "Nirvana you catch, Buddha?"

- I continued to push him. "Do not be ridiculous, boy."

- With a little note of reproach and irritation in his voice, he answered. "I still do not understand where the demonic spirits go." Like rechecked all kinds of options, and all were wrong. They do not evaporate. - So, I did not check everything. I hope that we will find out in due course. By the way, I'm looking, are you already assembled? - Why delay? As soon as I completed the repair with the technicians, I immediately went to my armory for the junk. Do you remember what you promised me?

- I remember, do not worry.

- I reassured him.

- Well, then they jerked. Ranlog sat down and opened the cabin. Zaprygnuv to Hunter, I quickly closed it and settled down comfortably. With a slight hiss, the lifting mechanism of the panoramic window crushed the rubber gasket to the cabin, tightly sealing the robot.

- Ranlog, conduct a complete diagnosis of the systems of the Hunter.

- Maybe even dance on the path?

- He puffed up.

- I checked everything two hours ago. Not enough for you?

- This is my first real task, and I want to be confident in the full combat capability of the robot. "What a bore you are!" Like Gray. Tom, too, once again check everything, but show. In the end, despite the rugged and sarcastic nature of Rangolog, after a short time, he still agreed and began to throw out the projections of various scales and diagrams. Waiting for me to read them, everything disappeared, and Ranlog performed several techniques of hand-to-hand combat, alternately using each servo. Then he turned on the disguise for a couple of seconds, and in the end calibrated the guidance system: bringing the revolver, he pointed it sharply towards the most distant searchlight. The guidance system almost instantly coordinated the direction and Tucked her hand in with the weapon, and Ranlog gently pulled the trigger. The bullet unmistakably reached its goal and smashed the bulb into smithereens. - Everything works as I said.

- he grunted in a satisfied voice.

- They moved. Give the command to open the weekend gate. Immediately there was a heavy clanking of iron - the gates of huge hermovrat began to move apart, and behind them the massive steel gates themselves. For these long, it seemed to me, a busy month and a half, I finally left the world of cars and labyrinths alive, although much more dangerous, but with such a wonderful world ...

- The estimated time of arrival, around noon, is a quick step. And if we run, we can manage in two hours. How shall we go?

- Lets go for a walk. We have nowhere to hurry. Turning the masking on the floor of strength, so that Hunter became transparent, like a phantom, we quickly went to the scene, trying not to attract anyone's attention. Finally, I saw the fortress outside and near. What a huge it is! Its fortress towers along the wall were a hundred meters high, and the wall itself stretched at the edge of the mountain for a giant distance, and the height was not less than fifty meters. No wonder no one was able to take her head on. The golden spiers of the towers of the palace, the Inquisition, the temple and the new Circle of Magicians, long before their end, were hiding in the clouds. Yes, verily, this fortress on the mountain, Midran, was majestic and unapproachable. On Earth, you do not meet ... We walked for about two hours in relative silence. Only sometimes Ranlog answered me or joked when I asked him about something. But then I remembered about the whisper and decided to ask him if he knew anything about it. "Listen, do you know anything about whispering in a dream?"

- Basically it's nonsense and your own imagination. And what exactly are you interested in? "I heard a strange voice tonight through sleep. It was barely discernable, but burning like a fire iron. And this whisper all about me knew and in the end said that we will meet again. I do not know what it was, but it came to my head. "Well, it's just wonderful ..." He suddenly stopped, as if he could not decide whether to tell something, or not. - Where have you been? Well, so what was that? "It's probably demonic spirit." But for this he had to be pretty close. Probably, this is one of the disappeared has appeared. But it turns out that they inside the fortress roam quite freely ...

- This is bad news.

- I summed it up. "As for you, they found you, and they will hunt your vessel twice as hard."

- You know how to please. I answered him ironically and quite joylessly.

"Listen, Alex, since everything is going well, I have to tell you something ..." "What's that secret?"

- Not funny. Previously, a similar case with the loss of spirits was already, just a little differently. Then I was still an ordinary demonic spirit without a shell, and we found a loophole for escape from the vault, slowly escaping from it, and settling in animals and people. It was then that the Hunter was created, and our plans were under threat. On the same day, we poured the spirit into one of the technicians who suggested the idea of ​​Gray to populate me in a robot with the help of magic. I had to become a siege weapon in attacking the fortress.

- That's news ...

- I without exaggeration ohrenel from what I've heard. "And you kept silent about it all the time?" "If I told you, it would be wrong to consider everything." You must understand that every demonic or divine spirit, while in no one has settled, embodies in the absolute certain qualities, not only of man, but of any living being. I was one of the personifications of secrets, lies, deceit and secrecy. "Why did you change then?" After all, you just settled in the Hunter, and you yourself are still the same spirit. "When our obsessed with Gray put me in the robot, after my first pitiable experience of managing it, we decided to postpone our plans until I manage the Hunter masterfully. And then, over the years spent with Gray, I very much rethought. We always talked to him about different things, together they hunted and had fun, together they created, almost from scratch, the arena. He became my family, and I decided to protect him and his house from the approaching destruction. I secretly made my way into the tunnels, where the possessed were hiding, and killed everyone. Then he found the hiding tech obsessed and, after cutting all his limbs, threw Gray under his feet, accusing the slaughter in the tunnels and showed the place of the slaughter. Then I betrayed my brothers for Gray's sake, and he, without knowing anything, thanked me, of course ... But from these secrets from a close friend, it's not easier for me so far. And now, as if everything repeats itself. This worried me all this time ...

- Yes, yes. Well, the story ... Let's finish it quickly and come back.

- I agree. - answered Ranlog, and we silently followed the accelerated pace. As he said, we reached the place by noon. The skeletons of the trucks lay still the same as before, except that the bodies from the suits-armor were already picked up by someone gluttonous and ate. "Gee, then."

- I said. - It's a pity people. Even there is nothing to bury ...

- This is nature. Everywhere. Either you eat, or you.

- Wait a minute. - while Ranlom and I were talking, standing on the edge of a giant forest, as somewhere near us lightning struck with a thunder accompanying it, but strongly muffled.

- You heard?

- Yeah. The lightning struck. A kilometer away from us, if I'm not mistaken. "Lightning?" Did you look at the sky? The clouds do not really smell. Trifle one.

"Then this is our client." Ranlog included a disguise and I, after passing twenty meters into the depths of the forest, stopped with the autocannon in preparation. "Do not forget that you promised, Alex."

- We will see. If he attacks, then I'll shoot right away. Then came the painful silence accompanying our waiting. A few minutes later a black dot formed on the radar. Then I realized that I can not move, and the robot also got out of control.

- Ranlog! I can not pull a finger! Do something!

- I mentally turned to him, knowing that he could read them while I was in the Hunter.

- A-aa. And what are the fates of the illustrious Witch Hunter brought here? Are you looking for me? - A man in a long cloak without a hood asked with a grin, coming out from behind a tree. "Oh, you're a beast!" Ranlog cursed in a strangled voice. Apparently, Valdemar could cause inconvenience and immobilize even the spirit. "Did you kill those people?" - that I had enough strength, I wanted to shout out, but instead of that, a subtle sound could break out of my mouth.

- Wrong wording. Answered Wald. Gathering all his strength, Ranlog with great difficulty could click on the descent of the autocannon. The shells flew in a queue with a deafening roar, but they did not reach their goal, instantly losing all their speed and falling to the ground like cones from a pine. The beast was still at ease and did not even take an ear.

- But it should not be done. Wald put his hand in my direction and his claws suddenly sparkled. My body, along with the Hunter, began to pierce numerous ranks, accompanied by terrible pain. "Wald ... Stop it, please ..." I cried out through the wild pain, out of my last strength. "Alex?"

- He sharply lowered his hand, stopping my torture and stopped blocking the Hunter. "Is it really you?" "I, do not worry," I said, stifled by the pain still aching, climbing out of Hunter's fallen one knee. "Oh, Creator, forgive me, Alex!" I did not know it was you! I decided that they had sent for me the Witch Hunter to kill me, and on it you came.

- he began to justify himself, running up to me.

- Well, formally, I came for this. But Ranfom and I decided first to see if you turned into a monster. "With Ranlog?" He asked, after which I nodded at the robot.

- How is it that you decided with him? He's just a piece of iron. "Not exactly ... There's a demonic spirit in it."

- Say thank you that you were the first to attack, otherwise I would definitely slap you. - beginning to regain consciousness, the spirit burst in.

- Daemon? No! - Wald growled, and his claws again sparkled, and his eyes gradually began to cover the blue fog. "Stop, you ignorant!" Shouted Ranlog. "I'm not one of those demons who just eat you." - How shoud I understand this? "Consider that you have gone over to the side of good, if it makes you feel better." He said sarcastically. "Listen, calm down and go away. It's a long story. As time will be, if desired, Alex will tell you everything. The mist retreated from Wald, and he calmed down again. "Then consider that I believed you." Just because you came with him.

- With a call in his voice he answered Rangolog. "Do not bury yourself, son." - the spirit growled menacingly, as if through teeth. "Calm down, both of you!" I tried to reason with both of them. "Wald, I did, after that spectacle in prison, decide that you, too, will turn into a monster, like everyone else."

- I, too, thought so, even at first I was frightened, but the spirit was honest with me. As promised, he healed me, only slightly changed the outward appearance, pulled me out of the fortress and left in my head, leaving me alone, and our abilities together became ten times stronger. "So you broke the whole caravan?"

- I also said at the beginning that this is a wrong wording. I did not have time to save them. And it killed them.

- he sent his hand deep into the forest towards the ravine and began to raise something to her. A moment later, a dead demon carcass rose from the ravine. Every limb of his mutilated body was broken and unnaturally turned out. The beast threw it at Hunter's feet. "So, who built the ashes here?" And I thought that the pogrom is not in your style.

- Finally began Ranlog with Wald, accustomed to him, slightly sarcastic voice.

- And, by the way, about this. I am very grateful to my spirit, and we feel each other as one. Therefore, we decided that Valdemara and Torgraal no longer exist. Now I ... We ... In general, us, - slightly confused, again introduced himself to us an old friend.

- They call Thorvald.

- Hmm, right, you can not argue. - noted Ranlog. "All right, you talk then, and I'll leave you for a couple of minutes." - and, turning around, he left the forest on the road. "Torvald ..." "Just call Thor." He corrected me. "Thor, listen, come with us to Midran." You will be welcome there.

"Have you lost your mind, my friend?" I'm not so long ago, and ran away from there, because they wanted to execute me, and you're offering me back offer? Look at me, Alex. I'm a monster. If they wanted to kill, then now they will shoot at all in one form only. He said, looking at me like a fool. "You look at Ranlog, Thor." He is generally a pure demon in an iron shell, not merged with anyone. And no one even really heard about him. We live in the technical block of the fortress. There, the Inquisition and the guard from the Burning Lily never enter. I tried to convince him to come with us. "I'm sorry, Alex, but I can not go with you." Even if you hide me, it will not save me from the terrible memories that I experienced there. Tor replied sadly. - I'm truly sorry, but this concludes our meeting. In the fortress say that you killed me in the forest. See you later, buddy. We will certainly meet again. "He said goodbye to me, and only had time to wink, as at that very instant lightning struck him, and he disappeared in her flash.

- See you.

- I answered, peering into the sky and lighted pine needles pairs of giant pines. "Alex, we have a problem." Suddenly returning, Ranlog said in a voice that did not bode well.

- What's wrong? "The fortress does not get in touch." That is, no one and none of the frequencies.

- Can we be out of coverage? "Gray and I had a radio station. And always responded. And then everything was as extinct. I do not like this.

- he expressed his fears.

- I agree, I also do not like it. "We must return soon." - as if reading my thoughts, said Ranlog, opening the cockpit, and sinking to one knee.

- Have driven. - throwing back, I jumped into the Hunter and, turning on the camouflage, we, with the speed that servos could only impart, rushed back to the fortress. An hour later, our Midran - a majestic fortress on the mountain - began to rise on the horizon. But something was wrong with him. Something imperceptible from afar, and so strikingly evident. "We're almost there."

- I stated. "Rangolog, it seems to me alone, or is something really wrong with the fortress?" He immediately showed the projection of the screen with a thirty-fold increase in the image. "Look, Alex: there's no Tesla guns on the towers, and there's not a single patrol on the walls ... Smoke?"

- He further enlarged the picture so that everything could be examined in detail. "Something is burning!" Damn it! How your ass senses! "I did not feel it, but I jinxed it!" - though for fun, but at the same time I swore evil.

- Let's push it faster!

In a matter of minutes we got to the main gate of the technical block and quickly ran up to the identification robot, but he was lying on the ground, torn from his cell in the wall. "Ranlog, look."

- I pointed it to the junction of the flaps of the hermovrat, completely melted so that both flaps were practically welded to each other.

- In any case, we will not pass here. Any idea how to get inside?

- There is one. - Ranlog led me from the entrance along the cliff about two hundred meters to the right, after which, turning to her side, kicked me hard with the foot of a large rock block sticking out in the rock. On a boulder from a place of blow there and then cracks have spread in all directions. After that, he walked away twenty paces and, leaning his shoulder forward, rushed to this huge stone, crushing the blow, literally blowing it apart. When Ranlog stopped, looking around, I realized that we were in one of the corridors of the dungeon.

- Where did we get to? "We're in a secret tunnel, which Gray and I personally dug up, and we only know about him." "How could I never have stumbled upon it?" "Because I piled it up on the other side."

- And why is it needed then? I did not understand anything, I asked again.

- And we will not go there. Now you will see everything yourself. Ranogl quickly dropped off at the end of the dialogue. It was impossible to lose time talking. Passing along the corridor, Ranlog all the time shone not along the tunnel and under his feet, but on his vault. After about ten minutes of walking, he still stopped the Hunter, bracing the beams of searchlights into a piece of metal pipe sticking out there. - Come. Said the spirit and tore it away. From the archway of the corridor, sand and small, tiny stones poured out, after which he began to disperse, forming an opening sufficient for the robot. We quickly climbed through it and were straight in the arsenal of Ranlog.

- You brought us great!

- Even with a little joy in my voice, I noticed. On the other side of the doors of the arsenal, an uninterrupted fountain of gunfire was heard, and a chilling roar of souls. "It's hot in there." Well, now we have no limits! Ranlog, grab the ax! "I thought you'd never ask!" The spirit answered with a thirst for battle in his voice. "And I'll take it personally from myself." Taking the ax, he turned his back to the wall, and from it emerged an agile pair of manipulators, which quickly began to mount on the back of the Hunter and connect a massive rocket launcher in the form of a dragon's head. Ranlog checked her retractable mechanism and, catching the more comfortable double-edged shining ax, asked: "Ready to have some fun, Alex?" "Let's show the creatures, whoever it is, that it's not good to attack us." - pronouncing these words, I even thought that his mood was transferred and to me. By this time, the battle in the arena has already died down. When Ranlog opened the doors, we saw a picture of the massacre: the numerous corpses of the most diverse creatures, tattered and torn, lay on top of each other and were scattered all over the arena.

- Apparently, we obviously missed something. And who fired at them? I had no time to think about how the metal skull, all bloody and with deep furrows from claws and fangs, with a steaming hot six-barreled machine gun and one hand-manipulator behind us, appeared behind our back, sparkling, as the stump from the second hanging in the air, hanging on the wires. In this hand he held a torn piece of bleeding meat.

- Attack on the arsenal - reflected. The sector is cleaned, the owner.

- Reported in an even voice security robot. "Did he manage this alone?" I am amazed.

- I confessed, not hiding surprise. "It's only he, Alex, it seems unattractive." Ranlog replied proudly.

- But it should be noted that the creatures also fought among themselves.

- I return to the guard mode of the object. Said the skull and immediately disappeared into the wall. Straight through the bodies, Ranfom and I rushed to the exit from the arena to the technical unit. Only with the third blow knocking out the broken door, we broke into the hangar. This time my expectations about such a picture, that was in the arena, fortunately did not materialize. Rangologist and I found dead only five technicians on duty. "Though there was little blood in here."

- I breathed out. "But where are all the others?" And the technology disappeared in a fair amount. "Alex, attention." The spirit warned me. "A living creature is thirty meters from us." Judging by the sensors - the enemy. Daemon. Because of one of several undermined armored cars a boy, about twenty-five years old, dressed in the uniform of technicians, got out. He looked at us with frightened eyes, and it seemed that with difficulty he uttered words from fear. "R ... R ... Ranlog?" Alex? Is that you? He said with great difficulty. "I was afraid that the demons killed everyone." "Rangologist, it's just an ordinary person." Can the Hunter fail in the program?

- Excluded. - answered the spirit and almost instantly took the Colt with his left hand and shot the guy between the eyes. But to my great surprise, a bullet flew through his head, leaving no scratches, and punched the thick side of the armored car, leaving in it a solid gaping hole. The guy's point on the radar suddenly disappeared for a couple of moments, and then flared red again. "Hinar ..." Ranlog growled angrily. Fear of the guy disappeared instantly, and the face took from a frightened, grinning look. "And I'm glad to see you, Ranlog's brother." You really are hard to deceive, but still you can. The creature said in a malicious voice. "What kind of beast are you?" I shouted at him.

"Oh, Alexey, do not be angry." - he continued to grin. "I told you we'll see you soon." Sorry for the conversation did not work out. Let me introduce myself. I'm Hinar. The demon, the master of illusions. - he bowed defiantly to the waist. - Why are you here? Ranlog asked him, growling with impatience to tear him to pieces. "Then why do you?" "I'm not here for this!" All in the past. "You keep everyone in the dark, brother." Do not even lie to me. - the demon said in a sympathetic tone. "We both know why we came here, only I came out first."

It was I who stole the spirits, secretly infused them into the technique and the people I caught! You will all burn, worms! He shouted haughtily. "Pray to your devil, Hinar, because when I get to you this, any beast that I kill will envy you!" Ranling growled in anger, furious with rage. "Well, if you do not lie, then try." The demon replied indifferently. "And while you're looking for me, faithful demons are slaughtering me on the surface." "Get out of here." Ranlog said and fired a rocket at him. She reached the target in a second, but the explosion only lifted the armored car into the air, which, turning over, crashed to the floor with a crash. When the smoke and dust dissipated, except for the burning car, there was no one else. "I'm going to kill this bastard!" He cursed.

- I agree with you. - I answered him, feeling that I was also touched by anger at him.

The entrance to the tunnel system was opened by a strong directional explosion, and from the hole there was a sickening smell of sulfur. We immediately went to the freight elevator leading to the surface of the fortress. When, after rising, the elevator opened the doors, a flash of explosion immediately struck the eyes. And only worth to get out of it, as we rammed a heavy fighting SUV at high speed. From such a blow Hunter was thrown a few meters, overturned backwards, and the car, having risen on the front wheels from the collision and, bending the shockproof frame, stood up, as if dug in. Hardly had I recovered from the unexpected blow and stood up, as I noticed that she had already pointed at me with her twelve-millimeter machine gun mounted on the roof of the cabin, ready to open fire. I just managed to hide my hands in the cabin, as a hail of bullets began to bite into the Hunter. While I was shielding myself from the shots, I missed the moment in which the car, quickly picking up speed, again rushed to me, but then Ranlog interfered in time. Making a jerk to the side, he, at the moment when the obsessed SUV came to the level with the Hunter, thrust his ax in his swing into the hood. Terrible weapons passed through the metal like a knife through the oil, cutting the engine and everything that was under the hood, in half. The jeep, by inertia, got stuck with a couple of dozen meters of masonry and froze, turning into a pile of metal. From each of its details, the purple haze began to evaporate intensely, dissolving in the air without a trace. "What the fuck is this ?!"

- I almost cried out from the wave of adrenaline that suddenly burst upon me.

- As Hinar said. Part of our armored vehicles is also obsessed, like the Hunter by me. Ranlog replied, and his voice felt all the rage with which he wanted to deal with this demon.

- Thank you for intervening, by the way. "Do not panic when they shoot at you." Hunter's skin and not so can withstand. But such a battering ram could easily with a few strokes and nail us. The central square was strewn with corpses of people, but, importantly, by the bodies of demons and broken machinery too. But not a single living soul was visible nearby. "Are we really late ..." I said hopelessly. "Until I see Gray's body, I will not believe it for anything!" Growled Ranlog. "Alex, do you hear?" Look! He pointed to the stone wall of a tall apartment house, from where deaf strokes were heard, and with which continually sprinkled stone crumbs. Then for a couple of seconds everything died down, and then another blow struck, from which the wall on the second floor shattered, forming a hole from which the robot flew out with a whistle. Judging by the Hunter's database, it was a robot for deforestation. Instead of brushes, chainsaws were built on his hands. In the hole formed, a middle-aged man was seen stained with blood. On his face, a mixture of intense rage and pain was vividly expressed. "I said do not touch my family, you bastard!" - angrily yelled out the man, then made a gesture with his hands, as if ripping something. At the same moment, the obsessive machine sparkled in the place of attachment of the torso to the legs and flared in different directions. And here the crimson haze began to evaporate and dissolve in the air. After that, the guy, exhausted, fell to his knees, bowing his head. After a few seconds, recovering slightly, he noticed us.

- Witch Hunter? You're too late, "the victim said in a weakened voice.

- Nothing. Now we catch up with the missed time. Ranlog replied in my voice, so as not to attract attention. "Where are everyone else?"

- I do not know. I was at home with my wife and daughter, when this distraught piece of iron burst into me, swinging with saws, and immediately attacked me. He managed to hurt me, but I will live.

Mmm ...! He suddenly groaned in pain, grabbing at his deeply cut leg. "Be in the house and do not stick your head out!" I said to him. "Hide the family and wait for help." "Believe me, I'm not going anywhere." The man replied ironically, pointing to his leg.

- Well, it's nice. Said Ranlog, and we rushed to the palace through the narrow streets of the fortified city. When we were in the very center of the alleyways, in one of them we saw a guy running away from us.

- Hey! Stop! - I shouted after him and jerked after him, and the guy ran, without turning around, and turned after the first turn. When I was there, he did not have a trace. On the radar, the blacked out point flashed again behind my back and, turning around, I saw him again, escaping from me through the alleys. "Boy, stop you!" I wanted to run after him again, but Ranlog stopped Hunter.

- Hey! What are you doing?

- I was indignant.

- Wait, do not rush you. The spirit said with reproach.

- Look. As soon as this guy ran into the corner, his signal on the radar disappeared, and a little later, appeared on the other side. The same guy was peeking out from behind the next corner. "Hinar!" He decided to confuse us here!

- I guessed. "You learn quickly, Alexei." Came a familiar voice behind me. Without looking, I swung the ax, but only opened the air and turned the site of the masonry wall into a tiny bit.

- Just a kindergarten. - continued to amuse the demon, whose silhouette again arose, coming to me from the nearest corner. Outwardly, he had the face of the same young man, but some "features" were very prominent: his eyes were poured in different colors, and on his forehead were four small horns. I immediately took out a revolver and fired a demon into the head, but, like in the hangar, the bullet passed through it without causing any harm to the target. The guy smiled evilly, and only his hand could ignite, forming a fireball, as he immediately threw it at me. Unlike the intangible illusion, the flame turned out to be the most real. It did not cause significant damage to the Hunter, but left on its armor of considerable dimensions Burn, slightly melting it. Suddenly, black spots started appearing on all sides of the radar and the demon phantoms began to appear everywhere: they came out from behind corners, looked at us from the windows, stood at the edges of the roofs. "Floundering like a baby.

- At the same time began to speak all this newly emerging crowd. "And what are you going to do to kill me?" There are a lot of us. And we are all I am! Suddenly, literally, like a bolt from the blue, with a deafening pop from the sky, lightning struck one of the demon's spears, enveloping it for a moment in a blinding flash. In a flash, all the phantoms dissolved in the air, leaving no trace behind them, and Torvald stood on a knot of ash on the spot of a lightning strike. Standing up, he straightened his long brown cloak and, seeing us with Ranlom, twisted his lips in a small smile, exposing his fangs. "I told you we'll see you again, Alex."

- he noted with a satisfied voice. "How glad I am to see you, Tor!"

- I was sincerely glad for such a timely appearance of a friend. "You're just in time, or they almost fried us." "But do not let this become a habit." - Ranlog interrupted, as if he was humiliated by this salvation. "No time to talk, guys!" Before I came down, I had time to see that the palace of the king from the side of the palace square besieged the terrible size of the creature. The walls are still restrained by a miracle, but this is not for long. Hurry up - all survivors there. I'll catch up with you. "Thor said, and the lightning disappeared into the sky. We immediately ran to the square, and there, shocked even Rangolog: The monster, at the withers above thirty meters, very similar to Goliath, but with a pair of eyes, without claws behind her back and with hooves instead of legs, desperately tried to destroy the palace and crush , and maybe eat people there. It beat hoofs on the walls, and what could, tore off his hands. Such parts of the palace as the roofs of the lower floors, columns, monuments and everything, for which he could seize, came off without delay. From the rooms of the upper levels, to which the mighty giant could not get, as best they could, everyone who was able to hold a gun was fired. But all the hits did not do any harm to Titan. "I have never seen such a thing in my life!" Exclaimed the sighted Ranlog. "With its exorbitant force, the walls should have collapsed long ago."

- Perhaps, their strength is supported by Gray with his students. I suggested.

- Well, if so. Most of all I hope that he is with them there, alive ...

- On this note, Ranglog, I, perhaps, will transfer control of the Hunter to you. He can not help me.

- I admitted to him, soberly assessing the current situation.

- I agree with you. - the spirit supported me. "I attack, and you take control of the rocket launcher and be ready to shoot at my command." This monster is like a goliath, which means we need to try to destroy it in the same way. I'll get on his back and stab the head with a knife, and you'll have to launch a bursting rocket with a timer there so we can knock him off.

- The whole plan. And I thought all the demons are simple, like traffic jams, in the fact that reason is preferred by blind rage. "So basically there is, but not suicides."

- From the depths of the car came a pleased roar.

- Come on! - and that was strong, Ranlog and I rushed to meet this giant. "We must first distract him from the palace!" Our pupils will not last long!

- Now we'll do it! Ranlog answered, and, running away, struck his monster with a huge ax, but our deadly weapon with a ring split and disintegrated, and the giant himself did not even pay attention to us, continuing to destroy the doomed palace. Survivors shot back, than they could, but all the hits to him were just like an elephant pellet.

- What the heck?! Yes it does not take anything! I have never seen this before. Ranlog swore, coming from this with me in a slight embarrassment. "He can not be taken with such weapons." What kind of missiles do we have?

- Mostly explosive, but there are concrete-piercing shells and a pair of strangling missiles.

- Exactly what is needed! - it seemed to me like an idea. I gave the command to charge the gas rocket and shot it in the head of the giant. The shell exploded right above Titan, and a green cloud densely enveloped his head. The giant demon took a step back, almost crushing the Hunter, and coughed heavily.

–Working! - I shouted joyfully, but only the gas dissipated, as Titan cleared his throat and again began to destroy the building.

- We need to distract him! Otherwise, it will not stop!

- No problem! - Ranlog quickly ran at such an angle that the Hunter was in sight of the giant. "Shoot!" - Spirit commanded, and I made a second shot right in the face of the monster. Again, the green cloud, like a boa, enveloped the entire head of Titan, from which he again became confused with a fit of coughing. When the effect of the gas on him stopped, he with terrible anger and malice fixed his fearful look at his abusers, so brazenly tearing him from his favorite occupation. "Well, he noticed us, Ranlog." And what were we planning?

- Let's run! He shouted and jumped abruptly aside, barely dodging the monster's big leg when he decided to crush us. When he sharply lowered his huge hoof, the earth shuddered, as if from an earthquake, and all the masonry in the noble part of the square under it turned into a stone crumb. I loaded a concrete-piercing shell and shot a giant in the leg, but he only bent over his impenetrable skin, jumped back, again without causing him any harm. And Titan, meanwhile, distracted from the destruction of the palace, began to try to trample us. Ranlog barely managed to dodge his horrific hoofs. "And how can we kill him if he can not get through anything at all?" With its invulnerability, this demon will smash the whole fortress! - almost screaming, I expressed my fears to Ranlog. "Where is Thor?" Lightning began to run through the golden spire of the palace, which was leaving behind the highest clouds, with every second hissing with increasing frequency. And at the moment when he was already practically emitting neon light himself, a powerful electric arc struck Titan exactly between the eyes, and at the same moment Tor appeared directly on his face. A very dense blue haze spun around and fueled his powers, and it seemed that he was radiating it. The giant roared deafeningly that I, even in the Hunter's cabin, still laid my ears. He tried to throw off the attacker, but Thor quickly jumped on his back and seemed to stick to him. The blue haze became brighter, and he repeatedly began to hit Titan with powerful lightning bolts. The monster wildly growled with pain, but could still resist it, waving his arms and tramping in place, trying to throw off Torvald. During this awkward dance of desperation, the monster with the hoof's edge casually touched the Hunter, sending us with Ranlog on a distant flight to the other side of the square. With a great crash crashing into the solid wall of the high house, Hunter collapsed to the ground. In the place of this "tangent" blow, a deep dent was displayed on the robot, a sturdy panoramic glass of the cabin was knocked out, and it fell apart in small pieces, but the pilot's safe seat softened the blows without causing me much harm other than a headache and "good" bruises.

- Ranlog! Are you there alive?

- I asked in a hurry spirit.

- Yes, alive, alive! Only me Hunter does not obey! It seems that the impact severely damaged the motor unit. The main thing is that the central core is not damaged, and the rest I will now try to recover as quickly as possible. - he assured me. "Come on, come on!"

- I was greatly annoyed by this inactivity, but in the near future, I had nothing else to do but to observe. Torvald meanwhile still kept trying to fry Titan, but it did not bring any special results either. The beastman gave the discharge almost at the limit of his capabilities, which the giant squeezed his throat from tension, from which he fell silent and even fell on one knee. But after a short time he still could resist this. Then Thor, with his spirit, took a desperate step - concentrating, from everywhere a blue haze began to flow from him, completely enveloping him and gradually enveloping the Monster from head to foot. Tempting Titan into one big impenetrable cloud, for a moment, it, together with the demon, froze in silent silence, and then a series of powerful flares inside this gaseous mass followed, followed by deafening thunder, in which the giant convulsively hammered. And only they ceased, as the blue cloud immediately dissipated, and Titan fell dead across the square, shaking the ground and almost reaching his head to the immobilized Hunter. Torvald was still motionless on his back unconscious, and from the top of the palace, from which the monster was firing, came a joyful scream.

- There is! Hunter is now under our control again! Ranglog suddenly surprised me with his news. "If Thor is alive, he must be hidden from the eyes of others, otherwise he will be beaten up as a mutant." "I agree with you, Alex." Said Ranlog, and we immediately rushed to save him. "He's still alive!" - jumping out of the Hunter, I immediately checked the Thor's pulse. "Take him to our hangar, and hide in Gray's former room." Then I can do it myself.

- As you know.

- Ranlog with the second time and with a creak again opened the cabin, laid on the chair of Torvald and fled lanes to the technical unit. At the same time, out of the miracle of the palace that survived, all the surviving people and the remaining guard came out. Among them were: the Chief Inquisitor Uriel, with a couple of dozen guards of the flaming cross, King Roderick, Dorgrey, and no longer six, but about thirty people clothed in the new attire of the Circle students. Gray himself, too, had already managed to change into the same clothes, only as he loves, she did not shine with luxury, but maximally gave freedom to movements. Everyone rushed with amazement to regard the defeated Titan, and Gray and Uriel immediately headed for me. "Alex, glory to the Creator, you're alive!" Dorgey ran up first and hugged me in a friendly way. "I'm glad to see you, friend." "I completely share the feelings of our friend, young Alex. Said Uriel and bowed his head slightly in agreement. Relief was felt on his face. - Gray, quiet.

- I asked him, since the whole body ached from bruises.

- What happened in my absence? "Without exaggeration, Alex, it was a nightmare.

- he admitted.

- I just returned to the technical unit to pick up my things, how the explosion exploded.

When I ran into the hangar, it was pure madness: the technique literally came to life and began to rush to the people, all the monsters from the arena poked themselves up and made a real pogrom there, everywhere there seemed to be nonexistent demons and other creatures that suddenly appeared, rushed at people and also Suddenly disappeared, driving us crazy.

  • The blame for everything was a demon-illusionist. I met him in the hangar. ... I'm done with it….

 

Continuation in the full version of the book. If you liked write reviews and email the author.

Thank you for your interest.

 

 

Dear English-speaking readers.  

     To my regret, the book is not fully translated into English, but if my novel has interested you, then write to me and I'll send you a handwritten translation of the book for free to your mail. I ask you not to judge too strictly the machine translation of the text.

 

 Thank you for being interested in my work.  

 

Yours Vyacheslav Perelygin.

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