Disclaimer: This is neither financial nor trading advice and everyone should trade based on their own risk tolerance. Please leverage yourself accordingly. When you're done, ask yourself: "Am I jacked to the tits?". If the answer is "yes", you're good to go.
We're probably experiencing the wildest markets in our lifetime. After doing some research and listening to opinions by several people, I wanted to share my own view on what happened in the market and what could happen in the future. There's no guarantee that the future plays out as I describe it or otherwise I'd become very rich.
If you just want tickers and strikes...I don't know if this is going to help you. But anyways, scroll way down to the end. My current position is TLT 171c 8/21, opened on Friday 7/31 when TLT was at 170.50.
This is a post trying to describe what it means that we've entered the "dollar standard" decades ago after leaving the gold standard. Furthermore I'll try to explain how the "dollar standard" is the biggest reason behind the 2008 and 2020 financial crisis, stock market crashes and how the Coronavirus pandemic was probably the best catalyst for the global dollar system to blow up.
Tackling the Dollar problem
Throughout the month of July we've seen the "death of the Dollar". At least that's what WSB thinks. It's easy to think that especially since it gets reiterated in most media outlets. I will take the contrarian view. This is a short-term "downturn" in the Dollar and very soon the Dollar will rise a lot against the Euro - supported by the Federal Reserve itself.US dollar Index (DXY)
If you zoom out to the 3Y chart you'll see what everyone is being hysterical about. The dollar is dying! It was that low in 2018! This is the end! The Fed has done too much money printing! Zimbabwe and Weimar are coming to the US.
There is more to it though. The DXY is dominated by two currency rates and the most important one by far is EURUSD.EURUSD makes up 57.6% of the DXY
And we've seen EURUSD
rise from 1.14 to 1.18 since July 21st, 2020. Why that date? On that date the European Commission (basically the "government" of the EU) announced that there was an agreement for the historical rescue package for the EU. That showed the markets that the EU seems to be strong and resilient, it seemed to be united (we're not really united, trust me as an European) and therefore there are more chances in the EU, the Euro and more chances taking risks in the EU.Meanwhile the US continued to struggle with the Coronavirus and some states like California went back to restricting public life. The US economy looked weaker and therefore the Euro rose a lot against the USD.
From a technical point of view the DXY failed to break the 97.5 resistance in June three times - DXY bulls became exhausted and sellers gained control resulting in a pretty big selloff in the DXY.
Why the DXY is pretty useless
Considering that EURUSD is the dominant force in the DXY I have to say it's pretty useless as a measurement of the US dollar. Why? Well, the economy is a global economy. Global trade is not dominated by trade between the EU and the USA. There are a lot of big exporting nations besides Germany, many of them in Asia. We know about China, Japan, South Korea etc. Depending on the business sector there are a lot of big exporters in so-called "emerging markets". For example, Brazil and India are two of the biggest exporters of beef.
Now, what does that mean? It means that we need to look at the US dollar from a broader perspective. Thankfully, the Fed itself provides a more accurate Dollar index. It's called the "Trade Weighted U.S. Dollar Index: Broad, Goods and Services"
When you look at that index you will see that it didn't really collapse like the DXY. In fact, it still is as high as it was on March 10, 2020! You know, only two weeks before the stock market bottomed out. How can that be explained?
Global trade, emerging markets and global dollar shortage
Emerging markets are found in countries which have been shifting away from their traditional way of living towards being an industrial nation. Of course, Americans and most of the Europeans don't know how life was 300 years ago.China already completed that transition. Countries like Brazil and India are on its way. The MSCI Emerging Market Index lists 26 countries. Even South Korea is included.
However there is a big problem for Emerging Markets: the Coronavirus and US Imports.
The good thing about import and export data is that you can't fake it. Those numbers speak the truth. You can see that imports into the US haven't recovered to pre-Corona levels yet. It will be interesting to see the July data coming out on August 5th.Also you can look at exports from Emerging Market economies. Let's take South Korean exports YoY
. You can see that South Korean exports are still heavily depressed compared to a year ago. Global trade hasn't really recovered.For July the data still has to be updated that's why you see a "0.0%" change right now.Less US imports mean less US dollars going into foreign countries including Emerging Markets.Those currency pairs are pretty unimpressed by the rising Euro. Let's look at a few examples. Use the 1Y chart to see what I mean. Indian Rupee to USDBrazilian Real to USDSouth Korean Won to USD
What do you see if you look at the 1Y chart of those currency pairs? There's no recovery to pre-COVID levels. And this is pretty bad for the global financial system. Why? According to the Bank of International Settlements there is $12.6 trillion of dollar-denominated debt
outside of the United States. Now the Coronavirus comes into play where economies around the world are struggling to go back to their previous levels while the currencies of Emerging Markets continue to be WEAK against the US dollar.
This is very bad. We've already seen the IMF receiving requests for emergency loans from 80 countries
on March 23th. What are we going to see? We know Argentina has defaulted on their debt more than once and make jokes about it. But what happens if we see 5 Argentinas? 10? 20? Even 80?
Add to that that global travel is still depressed, especially for US citizens going anywhere. US citizens traveling to other countries is also a situation in which the precious US dollars would enter Emerging Market economies. But it's not happening right now and it won't happen unless we actually get a miracle treatment or the virus simply disappears.
This is where the treasury market comes into play. But before that, let's quickly look at what QE (rising Fed balance sheet) does to the USD.
Take a look at the Trade-Weighted US dollar Index. Look at it at max timeframe - you'll see what happened in 2008. The dollar went up (shocker).Now let's look at the Fed balance sheet
at max timeframe. You will see: as soon as the Fed starts the QE engine, the USD goes UP, not down! September 2008 (Fed first buys MBS), March 2009, March 2020. Is it just a coincidence? No, as I'll explain below. They're correlated and probably even in causation.Oh and in all of those scenarios the stock market crashed...compared to February 2020, the Fed balance sheet grew by ONE TRILLION until March 25th, but the stock market had just finished crashing...can you please prove to me that QE makes stock prices go up? I think I've just proven the opposite correlation.
Bonds, bills, Gold and "inflation"
People laugh at bond bulls or at people buying bonds due to the dropping yields. "Haha you're stupid you're buying an asset which matures in 10 years and yields 5.3% STONKS go up way more!".Let me stop you right there.
Why do you buy stocks? Will you hold those stocks until you die so that you regain your initial investment through dividends? No. You buy them because you expect them to go up based on fundamental analysis, news like earnings or other things. Then you sell them when you see your price target reached. The assets appreciated.Why do you buy options? You don't want to hold them until expiration unless they're -90% (what happens most of the time in WSB). You wait until the underlying asset does what you expect it does and then you sell the options to collect the premium. Again, the assets appreciated.
It's the exact same thing with treasury securities. The people who've been buying bonds for the past years or even decades didn't want to wait until they mature. Those people want to sell the bonds as they appreciate. Bond prices have an inverse relationship with their yields which is logical when you think about it. Someone who desperately wants and needs the bonds for various reasons will accept to pay a higher price (supply and demand, ya know) and therefore accept a lower yield.
By the way, both JP Morgan and Goldmans Sachs posted an unexpected profit this quarter, why? They made a killing trading bonds.
US treasury securities are the most liquid asset in the world and they're also the safest asset you can hold. After all, if the US default on their debt you know that the world is doomed. So if US treasuries become worthless anything else has already become worthless.
Now why is there so much demand for the safest and most liquid asset in the world? That demand isn't new but it's caused by the situation the global economy is in. Trade and travel are down and probably won't recover anytime soon, emerging markets are struggling both with the virus and their dollar-denominated debt and central banks around the world struggle to find solutions for the problems in the financial markets.
How do we now that the markets aren't trusting central banks? Well, bonds tell us that and actually Gold tells us the same! TLT chartGold spot price chart
TLT is an ETF which reflects the price of US treasuries with 20 or more years left until maturity. Basically the inverse of the 30 year treasury yield.
As you can see from the 5Y chart bonds haven't been doing much from 2016 to mid-2019. Then the repo crisis of September 2019
took place and TLT actually rallied in August 2019 before the repo crisis finally occurred!So the bond market signaled that something is wrong in the financial markets and that "something" manifested itself in the repo crisis.
After the repo market crisis ended (the Fed didn't really do much to help it, before you ask), bonds again were quiet for three months and started rallying in January (!) while most of the world was sitting on their asses and downplaying the Coronavirus threat.
But wait, how does Gold come into play? The Gold chart basically follows the same pattern as the TLT chart. Doing basically nothing from 2016 to mid-2019. From June until August Gold rose a staggering 200 dollars and then again stayed flat until December 2019. After that, Gold had another rally until March when it finally collapsed.
Many people think rising Gold prices are a sign of inflation. But where is the inflation? We saw PCE price indices on Friday July 31st and they're at roughly 1%. We've seen CPIs from European countries and the EU itself. France and the EU (July 31st) as a whole had a very slight uptick in CPI while Germany (July 30th), Italy (July 31st) and Spain (July 30th) saw deflationary prints.There is no inflation, nowhere in the world. I'm sorry to burst that bubble.
Yet, Gold prices still go up even when the Dollar rallies through the DXY (sadly I have to measure it that way now since the trade-weighted index isn't updated daily) and we know that there is no inflation from a monetary perspective. In fact, Fed chairman JPow, apparently the final boss for all bears, said on Wednesday July 29th that the Coronavirus pandemic is a
deflationary disinflationary event.
Someone correct me there, thank you. But deflationary forces are still in place even if JPow wouldn't admit it.
To conclude this rather long section: Both bonds and Gold are indicators for an upcoming financial crisis.
Bond prices should fall and yields should go up to signal an economic recovery. But the opposite is happening. in that regard heavily rising Gold prices are a very bad signal for the future. Both bonds and Gold are screaming: "The central banks haven't solved the problems".
By the way, Gold is also a very liquid asset if you want quick cash, that's why we saw it sell off in March because people needed dollars thanks to repo problems and margin calls.When the deflationary shock happens and another liquidity event occurs there will be another big price drop in precious metals and that's the dip which you could use to load up on metals by the way.
Dismantling the money printer
But the Fed! The M2 money stock
is SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF! The printers are real!By the way, velocity of M2
was updated on July 30th and saw another sharp decline. If you take a closer look at the M2 stock
you see three parts absolutely skyrocketing: savings, demand deposits and institutional money funds. Inflationary? No.
So, the printers aren't real. I'm sorry.Quantitative easing (QE) is the biggest part of the Fed's operations to help the economy get back on its feet. What is QE?Upon doing QE the Fed "purchases" treasury and mortgage-backed securities from the commercial banks. The Fed forces the commercial banks to hand over those securities and in return the commercial banks reserve additional bank reserves at an account in the Federal Reserve.
This may sound very confusing to everyone so let's make it simple by an analogy.I want to borrow a camera from you, I need it for my road trip. You agree but only if I give you some kind of security - for example 100 bucks as collateral.You keep the 100 bucks safe in your house and wait for me to return safely. You just wait and wait. You can't do anything else in this situation. Maybe my road trip takes a year. Maybe I come back earlier. But as long as I have your camera, the 100 bucks need to stay with you.
In this analogy, I am the Fed. You = commercial banks. Camera = treasuries/MBS. 100 bucks = additional bank reserves held at the Fed.
Revisiting 2008 briefly: the true money printers
The true money printers are the commercial banks, not the central banks. The commercial banks give out loans and demand interest payments. Through those interest payments they create money out of thin air! At the end they'll have more money than before giving out the loan.
That additional money can be used to give out more loans, buy more treasury/MBS Securities or gain more money through investing and trading.
Before the global financial crisis commercial banks were really loose with their policy. You know, the whole "Big Short" story, housing bubble, NINJA loans and so on. The reckless handling of money by the commercial banks led to actual money printing and inflation, until the music suddenly stopped. Bear Stearns went tits up. Lehman went tits up.
The banks learned from those years and completely changed, forever. They became very strict with their lending resulting in the Fed and the ECB not being able to raise their rates. By keeping the Fed funds rate low the Federal Reserve wants to encourage commercial banks to give out loans to stimulate the economy. But commercial banks are not playing along. They even accept negative rates in Europe rather than taking risks in the actual economy.
The GFC of 2008 completely changed the financial landscape and the central banks have struggled to understand that. The system wasn't working anymore because the main players (the commercial banks) stopped playing with each other. That's also the reason why we see repeated problems in the repo market.
How QE actually decreases liquidity before it's effective
The funny thing about QE is that it achieves the complete opposite of what it's supposed to achieve before actually leading to an economic recovery.
What does that mean? Let's go back to my analogy with the camera.
Before I take away your camera, you can do several things with it. If you need cash, you can sell it or go to a pawn shop. You can even lend your camera to someone for a daily fee and collect money through that.But then I come along and just take away your camera for a road trip for 100 bucks in collateral.
What can you do with those 100 bucks? Basically nothing. You can't buy something else with those. You can't lend the money to someone else. It's basically dead capital. You can just look at it and wait until I come back.
And this is what is happening with QE.
Commercial banks buy treasuries and MBS due to many reasons, of course they're legally obliged to hold some treasuries, but they also need them to make business.When a commercial bank has a treasury security, they can do the following things with it:- Sell it to get cash- Give out loans against the treasury security- Lend the security to a short seller who wants to short bonds
Now the commercial banks received a cash reserve account at the Fed in exchange for their treasury security. What can they do with that?- Give out loans against the reserve account
That's it. The bank had to give away a very liquid and flexible asset and received an illiquid asset for it. Well done, Fed.
The goal of the Fed is to encourage lending and borrowing through suppressing yields via QE. But it's not happening and we can see that in the H.8 data
(assets and liabilities of the commercial banks).There is no recovery to be seen in the credit sector while the commercial banks continue to collect treasury securities and MBS. On one hand, they need to sell a portion of them to the Fed on the other hand they profit off those securities by trading them - remember JPM's earnings.
So we see that while the Fed is actually decreasing liquidity in the markets by collecting all the treasuries it has collected in the past, interest rates are still too high. People are scared, and commercial banks don't want to give out loans
. This means that as the economic recovery is stalling (another whopping 1.4M jobless claims on Thursday July 30th) the Fed needs to suppress interest rates even more. That means: more QE. that means: the liquidity dries up even more, thanks to the Fed.
We heard JPow saying on Wednesday that the Fed will keep their minimum of 120 billion QE per month, but, and this is important, they can increase that amount anytime they see an emergency.And that's exactly what he will do. He will ramp up the QE machine again, removing more bond supply from the market and therefore decreasing the liquidity in financial markets even more. That's his Hail Mary play to force Americans back to taking on debt again.All of that while the government is taking on record debt due to "stimulus" (which is apparently only going to Apple, Amazon and Robinhood). Who pays for the government debt? The taxpayers. The wealthy people. The people who create jobs and opportunities. But in the future they have to pay more taxes to pay down the government debt (or at least pay for the interest). This means that they can't create opportunities right now due to the government going insane with their debt - and of course, there's still the Coronavirus.
"Without the Fed, yields would skyrocket"
This is wrong. The Fed has been keeping their basic level QE of 120 billion per month for months now. But ignoring the fake breakout in the beginning of June (thanks to reopening hopes), yields have been on a steady decline.
Let's take a look at the Fed's balance sheet
The Fed has thankfully stayed away from purchasing more treasury bills (short term treasury securities). Bills are important for the repo market as collateral. They're the best collateral you can have and the Fed has already done enough damage by buying those treasury bills in March, destroying even more liquidity than usual.
More interesting is the point "notes and bonds, nominal". The Fed added 13.691 billion worth of US treasury notes and bonds to their balance sheet. Luckily for us, the US Department of Treasury releases the results of treasury auctions
when they occur. On July 28th there was an auction for the 7 year treasury note. You can find the results under "Note -> Term: 7-year -> Auction Date 07/28/2020 -> Competitive Results PDF". Or here's a link
What do we see? Indirect bidders, which are foreigners by the way, took 28 billion out of the total 44 billion. That's roughly 64% of the entire auction. Primary dealers are the ones which sell the securities to the commercial banks. Direct bidders are domestic buyers of treasuries.
The conclusion is: There's insane demand for US treasury notes and bonds by foreigners. Those US treasuries are basically equivalent to US dollars. Now dollar bears should ask themselves this question: If the dollar is close to a collapse and the world wants to get rid fo the US dollar, why do foreigners (i.e. foreign central banks) continue to take 60-70% of every bond auction? They do it because they desperately need dollars and hope to drive prices up, supported by the Federal Reserve itself, in an attempt to have the dollar reserves when the next liquidity event occurs.
So foreigners are buying way more treasuries than the Fed does. Final conclusion: the bond market has adjusted to the Fed being a player long time ago. It isn't the first time the Fed has messed around in the bond market.
How market participants are positioned
We know that commercial banks made good money trading bonds and stocks in the past quarter. Besides big tech the stock market is being stagnant, plain and simple. All the stimulus, stimulus#2, vaccinetalksgoingwell.exe, public appearances by Trump, Powell and their friends, the "money printing" (which isn't money printing) by the Fed couldn't push SPY back to ATH which is 339.08 btw.
Who can we look at? Several people but let's take Bill Ackman. The one who made a killing with Credit Default Swaps in March and then went LONG (he said it live on TV). Well, there's an update about him:Bill Ackman saying he's effectively 100% long
He says that around the 2 minute mark.
Of course, we shouldn't just believe what he says. After all he is a hedge fund manager and wants to make money. But we have to assume that he's long at a significant percentage - it doesn't even make sense to get rid of positions like Hilton when they haven't even recovered yet.
Then again, there are sources to get a peek into the positions of hedge funds, let's take Hedgopia
.We see: Hedge funds are starting to go long on the 10 year bond. They are very short the 30 year bond. They are very long the Euro, very short on VIX futures and short on the Dollar.
This is the perfect setup for a market meltdown. If hedge funds are really positioned like Ackman and Hedgopia describes, the situation could unwind after a liquidity event:The Fed increases QE to bring down the 30 year yield because the economy isn't recovering yet. We've already seen the correlation of QE and USD and QE and bond prices.That causes a giant short squeeze of hedge funds who are very short the 30 year bond. They need to cover their short positions. But Ackman said they're basically 100% long the stock market and nothing else. So what do they do? They need to sell stocks. Quickly. And what happens when there is a rapid sell-off in stocks? People start to hedge via put options. The VIX rises. But wait, hedge funds are short VIX futures, long Euro and short DXY. To cover their short positions on VIX futures, they need to go long there. VIX continues to go up and the prices of options go suborbital (as far as I can see).Also they need to get rid of Euro futures and cover their short DXY positions. That causes the USD to go up even more.
And the Fed will sit there and do their things again: more QE, infinity QE^2, dollar swap lines, repo operations, TARP and whatever. The Fed will be helpless against the forces of the market and have to watch the stock market burn down and they won't even realize that they created the circumstances for it to happen - by their programs to "help the economy" and their talking on TV. Do you remember JPow on 60minutes talking about how they flooded the world with dollars and print it digitally? He wanted us poor people to believe that the Fed is causing hyperinflation and we should take on debt and invest into the stock market. After all, the Fed has it covered.
But the Fed hasn't got it covered. And Powell knows it. That's why he's being a bear in the FOMC statements. He knows what's going on. But he can't do anything about it except what's apparently proven to be correct - QE, QE and more QE.
A final note about "stock market is not the economy"
It's true. The stock market doesn't reflect the current state of the economy. The current economy is in complete shambles.
But a wise man told me that the stock market is the reflection of the first and second derivatives
of the economy. That means: velocity and acceleration of the economy. In retrospect this makes sense.
The economy was basically halted all around the world in March. Of course it's easy to have an insane acceleration of the economy when the economy is at 0 and the stock market reflected that. The peak of that accelerating economy ("max velocity" if you want to look at it like that) was in the beginning of June. All countries were reopening, vaccine hopes, JPow injecting confidence into the markets. Since then, SPY is stagnant, IWM/RUT, which is probably the most accurate reflection of the actual economy, has slightly gone down and people have bid up tech stocks in absolute panic mode.
Even JPow admitted it. The economic recovery has slowed down and if we look at economic data, the recovery has already stopped completely. The economy is rolling over as we can see in the continued high initial unemployment claims. Another fact to factor into the stock market.
TLDR and positions or ban?
TLDR: global economy bad and dollar shortage. economy not recovering, JPow back to doing QE Infinity. QE Infinity will cause the final squeeze in both the bond and stock market and will force the unwinding of the whole system.
Positions: idk. I'll throw in TLT 190c 12/18, SPY 220p 12/18, UUP 26c 12/18.That UUP call had 12.5k volume on Friday 7/31 btw.
Edit about positions and hedge funds My current positions
. You can laugh at my ZEN calls I completely failed with those.I personally will be entering one of the positions mentioned in the end - or similar ones. My personal opinion is that the SPY puts are the weakest try because you have to pay a lot of premium.
Also I forgot talking about why hedge funds are shorting the 30 year bond. Someone asked me in the comments and here's my reply:
"If you look at treasury yields and stock prices they're pretty much positively correlated. Yields go up, then stocks go up. Yields go down (like in March), then stocks go down.
What hedge funds are doing is extremely risky but then again, "hedge funds" is just a name and the hedgies are known for doing extremely risky stuff. They're shorting the 30 year bond because they needs 30y yields to go UP to validate their long positions in the equity market. 30y yields going up means that people are welcoming risk again, taking on debt, spending in the economy.
Milton Friedman labeled this the "interest rate fallacy". People usually think that low interest rates mean "easy money" but it's the opposite. Low interest rates mean that money is really tight and hard to get. Rising interest rates on the other hand signal an economic recovery, an increase in economic activity.
So hedge funds try to fight the Fed - the Fed is buying the 30 year bonds! - to try to validate their stock market positions. They also short VIX futures to do the same thing. Equity bulls don't want to see VIX higher than 15. They're also short the dollar because it would also validate their position: if the economic recovery happens and the global US dollar cycle gets restored then it will be easy to get dollars and the USD will continue to go down.
Then again, they're also fighting against the Fed in this situation because QE and the USD are correlated in my opinion.
Another Redditor told me that people who shorted Japanese government bonds completely blew up because the Japanese central bank bought the bonds and the "widow maker trade" was born:https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/widow-maker.asp
Since I've mentioned him a lot in the comments, I recommend you check out Steven van Metre's YouTube channel
. Especially the bottom passages of my post are based on the knowledge I received from watching his videos. Even if didn't agree with him on the fundamental issues (there are some things like Gold which I view differently than him) I took it as an inspiration to dig deeper. I think he's a great person and even if you're bullish on stocks you can learn something from Steven!
I beat Bloodstained recently, and because this forum seems to think Hollow Knight is the greatest game ever while Bloodstained sucks I decided to go against the grain a bit and create a different discussion. Granted, overall I think Hollow Knight is better, but that's doesn't mean it's better on every aspect. Now, I found Bloodstained and Hollow Knight essentially took opposite approaches to building large Metroidvanias (in summary, Bloodstained gets it's complexity by filling out large continuums with quantitative variations, while Hollow Knight gets it through combinatorics by giving unique behavior to simple things which then synergize), so I don't think it's necessarily fair to compare them, but I'm going to do it anyway. This post is very long as I've found a lot to talk about, so I don't recommend reading the whole thing. Each paragraph is one aspect, you should be able to get what it is just from reading the first sentence, the rest of the paragraph is just an argument as to why I found that aspect to be better if you care to read it. I'll post the list of all the aspects in the concluding paragraph. With that being said, here it goes. submitted by
First, I prefer Bloodstain's save/death system over Hollow Knight's. While autosaving is convenient, I honestly prefer manual saving as I like having control over those cases where you don't want to overwrite your savefile. In Hollow Knight's case, it's clear that they implement autosaving specifically to prevent you from doing that, as otherwise their death mechanic wouldn't work, and it makes certain choices permanent. It really says something about how brutal Hollow Knight's death mechanic is that it would be preferable for the game to just end and have to be reloaded from a save point. In addition to being brutal, I find such a mechanic to be a poor fit for Metroidvania's, as forcing the player to go to the same destination to recover discourages exploration or trying different routes when a particular ones proves too hard. The logistics of the whole thing are also pretty iffy, both with the shade mechanic and with autosaving and returning to a save point on quitting, and both can be exploited in ways that feel to defy the logic of the game. The thing I like the most about Bloodstain's save system is that it has lots of slots you can branch out into, which I like using to save before boss fights in case I want to refight them. Hollow Knight's Hall of Gods is much more convenient, but it still fails to capture all such fights that a player might want to reattempt with a different strategy (the big one being the Pale Lurker), and not all the fights it does have are quite the same as the original (Uumuu in particular feels like a completely different fight), so it does not make having such a feature be obsolete. Even when bosses are available unchanged in the house of gods though, the fact that the Hall of Gods can't even be unlocked until midgame needs to be considered, while save branching can be done immediately after the boss is fought. Finally, even though Hollow Knight has autosaving, it still has save points, and Bloodstained does a much a better job at placing save point in desirable locations. In particular, Bloodstained always has a save point before a boss, while there is some frustrating exceptions in Hollow Knight.
Next, I prefer Bloodstain's map system. It's simple, but effective, and in terms of functionality has most of the features of Hollow Knight's, with essential features like save points and NPCs being marked in one way or another, and personal markers are given as well. Hollow Knight's maps are certainly prettier, but that doesn't necessarily make them more useful. They have a couple advantages with the colored regions and drawn out landmarks, but are also frustrating in other ways, such as with the limited markers, and the fact you need to buy everything first. The biggest issue though is the fact that maps must be bought before they can be used. This wouldn't be a bad idea by itself, but in practice it isn't used particularly well, as the map is often either is often either hid so near the entrance that they might as well start with it, or being hidden so late that they needs to frustratingly memorize the area before getting to it. The fact they cost geo is little more than a nuisance, as they don't cost enough for the player to ever be worth passing them up for now, but it's still often enough to just waste time grinding until enough geo is gathered to buy them. The problems with the map system are exacerbated by the shade mechanic, as a map is needed to track down the shade. This further discourages exploration, as it encourages someone to either just map a beeline towards the map while ignoring everything else, or just avoid areas entirely that they don't have the map for. Fog Canyon in particular was frustrating, as the map in positioned in such a place to actively discourage exploring the region until the player gets the shade cloak, but the area was designed to be cleared with either the shade cloak or Isma's tear, and the map can actually be picked up pretty easily picked up with the latter if the player wasn't discouraged from exploring by the tease combined with frustrating game mechanics.
Bloodstained did a much better job at handling money than Hollow Knight. I never found myself having to grind for money in Bloodstained, but I did in the early game for Hollow Knight. The biggest issue with currency in Hollow Knight though is in the late game, which is that geo becomes absolutely useless once everything is bought. There is one stock that never exhausts, the rancid eggs, but these become all but useless after everything else is bought out as the only use for rancid eggs is recovering the player's shade, where the primary purpose for doing such is just to recover geo. The only other reason would be to fix the soul gage, but in most cases it would probably be faster to just kill yourself than to return to Confessor Jiji in order to fetch the shade. This issue is amplified in Steel Soul mode, where geo will likely accumulate to a greater extent due to not being lost on death, rancid eggs can no longer be bought, and the end game geo sinks are useless as they only prevent an effect that occurs on death. The one other replenishable stock, fixing the fragile charms, can't be restored either as the charms only break on death. This is not an issue as Bloodstained. Not only is it much harder to pay for everything, and consumable items ensure that there will always be practical stock remaining, but there is uses for money other than buying items, namely the gold bullet spell and the gold power ring.
While charms can slightly modify the attack in Hollow Knight, the overall form remains the same, with the same nail attacks and the same spells. Meanwhile, by changing up weapons and spell shards, several different modes of combat are possible in Bloodstained. For example, one spell I enjoyed using in Bloodstained is Plume Parma, which launches a flying pig that bounces around the arena, and it's fun challenge to work on the geometry of arenas and boss patterns to figure out where to launch the pig so it hits the boss the maximum number of times before it pops. Hollow Knight has nothing comparable. As far as actual weapons go, boots encourage completely different fighting styles than swords or guns do. The fact there are different attack types as well also mixes stuff up in Bloodstained by more explicitly encouraging different builds. With that said, I did find Hollow Knight to have much better synergy between charms than any items in Bloodstained did, the limitation is just in modes of combat.
I found the traversal items to be much more interesting in Bloodstained. Hollow Knight's are pretty generic, with the most interesting one being super-dash, which is kinda annoying. Bloodstained had three more interesting traversal abilities with reflector ray, invert, and dimension shift. I do have to say the Hollow Knight did a much better job at actually putting it's traversal abilities to use, but even then I do think Bloodstained had a much more useful invert mechanic than most games where something similar can be done. Even with some of the more generic abilities Bloodstained had more interesting traversals. The best example of this is with how they handle water, where all Hollow Knight's traversal does is make some more water swimmable on the surface, while Bloodstained has two different traversal abilities for water, each allowing different ways to explore it in 2d space.
One thing that always frustrated me in Hollow Knight is how little of a difference upgrades in the game actually made. The clincher is the fact that once you get ALL mask upgrades and vessel fragments, you're still not even twice as powerful as you were at the start of the game. This difference is even more marginal when you consider how easy it is to heal and recover soul in this game, so in practice you have much more soul and life available then the meters indicate. On the other hand, if you do get pushed to the edge (which is the only point where health upgrades make a different anyway) and recover, then the effect is amplified as you could recover more than one mask after you otherwise would have died. For what they are worth, it annoys me that there are much easier method to continue pushing life past the limit, such as by farming lifeblood, making there be little incentive to actually track down any upgrades. This is one area where Hollow Knight's emphasis on the discrete works against it, as complete sets are needed before mask shards or vessel fragments, while any individual health or magic upgrade in Bloodstained makes a difference, even if it's so small that it's only situational. What really makes this bad is exactly how the upgrades are obtained. In short, I've found that for both masks shards and vessels fragments there is one that is extremely hard to get, a few that are fairly challenging, and most are a matter of going to the right place. As a result, there is little incentive to tackle the fairly challenging ones unless one is also confident that they can get the extremely challenging one as otherwise they won't amount to anything once all the easy shards and fragments are picked up, collapsing challenges with rewards of varying levels of difficulty into one.
Unlike the masks, the fully upgraded nail is significantly more powerful the original nail. I don't like the way I paced the upgrades though. Each nail upgrade adds a constant amount of damage to the nail which is slightly less damage than the starting nail. This is fine, though the practical effect is somewhat sporadic due to most enemies having so few hit-points that the ratio between the previous number of hits it took to kill an enemy to the new number of hits is often quite different from the ratio between the previous amount of damage the nail did to the new amount of damage. It would be more consistent against bosses, if it wasn't for the fact that many bosses are giving more hits as the nail is upgraded so the effect is nerfed. Even worse, spells don't become more powerful, so a boss can actually become HARDER when thought with more powerful nail. While not a boss, I noticed this effect with the shade, which was quite annoying. With those aside, the issue comes from the fact the requires for upgrading the weapon are not constant, but instead increase linearly. By itself this would be reasonable as it would be expected for their be a greater requirement to get a constant improvement later on to reflect the increasing difficulty of the game, but the issue comes from the fact that the upgrade requirement is from a rare item, of which each is required to get the final upgrade. As result, the difficulty of upgrading the item increases superlinearly, not linearly. To explain why, I'll use this example of completing a set of trading cards by buying random cards. Say there are twelve possible cards that could be randomly gotten, there is six in the set you're trying to complete, and the package contains one card. With the first package, you have a 1/2 chance of getting a card in the set, and thus getting one card closer to complete set. Once you have 5/6 cards in the set though, you only have 1/12 chance of getting one card closer to completing the set as you need the specific one that you are missing, not just any card in the set. You can't apply the same calculations to Hollow Knight as obtaining the ore isn't random, it's gotten by performing certain tasks, but similar reasoning applies. The issue isn't just that it's superlinear though, but the exact values are poorly balanced. To get the first nail upgrade, you need zero pale ore, while the final upgrade needs three pale ore, which is half the total pale ore. As a result, it's strictly harder to get the final nail upgrade than to get ALL the nail upgrades before it, but the proportional effect isn't anywhere close to what you get for ANY of the upgrades before it. This lack of marginal improvement is then exacerbated by the fact that some pale ore is much easier to get than others (easiest is basically just found on the wayside on a route you have to go down anyway, hardest requires completing the second of three gauntlets), so of course the easy to find ones are all going to found before the hard ones. The reward to effort ratio is just completely out of wack for the final nail level, and I find that it just added one more nail level and four more ore it could have been much more reasonable without changing the overall system. Meanwhile, Bloodstained does damage upgrades completely differently. Frankly I don't know how Bloodstained scales damage other than it being much more complicated, but in practice I found it to be much better paced than it was in Hollow Knight. There is an issue where occasionally you randomly got a weapon that's much more powerful than the weapons you should have at that point so until you get to the next stage most weapons you pick up are useful, but overall I found it to be much better.
Bloodstained has much more interesting alternative game modes than Hollow Knight does. First off, it has different difficulty settings, which Hollow Knight just lacks. If we consider Hollow Knight's alternative game modes, none of them actually add any functionality. Steel Soul mode technically adds a single new feature in the form of Steel Soul Jinn, but as all she does is convert eggs to geo, which is not particularly useful for the reasons explained in the section on money. The fact the save file deletes on death doesn't actually add functionality as a player could impose this challenge on themselves by choosing to manually delete their save file on death, all it does is automate the process. I guess you could consider the achievements associated with the mode as an added feature, but those are spoiled by the fact you can save you run by just quitting before death, meaning you can play as if you only have one less hit, and can't do any shade-jumping exploits. The other mode is Godseeker mode, which is it's answer to Boss Rush mode. It sounds like a good idea, but it's pretty terrible in practice because you can already do all of Godhome in the main game, and all Godseeker mode is just Godhome and nothing but Godhome. I see two potential uses for this mode, the first is that in Godseeker mode you're fulling upgraded so it can be done to get around having to get all the upgrades yourself, and the second is that Godhome is a pain to get to to and get out of, so just opening a second save file can be done instead for convenience sake. The problem is, it's so hard to unlock Godseeker mode that by the point you've gotten there you've probably already done every else, so you don't need to unlock any upgrades, and you can just set around in Godhome while you try to clear it in the main game as you don't actually need to leave. As it is I still haven't cleared the third pantheon, but the only upgrade I'm missing is the fourth level Grimm charm, which I frankly don't find to be worth beating either Nightmare Grimm or the third Pantheon for. The fact the Hall of Gods is almost filled in Godseeker mode means it could be used to fight the handful of bosses (Pure Vessel, Winged Nosk, and the Sisters of Battle) that still need to be unlocked in Godhome if you're unable to clear the fourth Pantheon, and it can be used to fight Grey Prince Zote if you let the real one die, but that's not much. Bloodstained also has a Boss Rush Mode, but it's much more reasonable to unlock, just requiring the bosses to be rather than tracking down some obscure location and complete the challenges there, and it doesn't waste an entire safe file. It also actually emphasizes the rush part, with a timer for high scores, and performance rewards that can actually be used in the main game instead of just being some weird isolated challenge for getting an alternative ending. With boss revenge mode it has another fun challenge mode that's unlike anything in the game, but it also has a couple full length modes that act like full games. Right now they have Zangetsu mode and randomizer mode, both of which are substantially different from the main game. Bloodstained is still being updated to add new game modes, while Hollow Knight is now capped at it's definitive version.
Finally, I found Bloodstained to be much more reasonable with how it distributed its alternative endings. Hollow Knight has five endings, but two of them are just variations, so I'll only consider three of them. Bloodstained also has three endings, so we can compare them. As far as it can be measured, I feel these endings are roughly distributed in the same way: the first ending is a bit over half-way through the game, and final ending requires doing a bit more than the second one. The main difference I feel in between how this three endings are distributed between the games is that in Bloodstained, the first two endings are the result of aborting the main path through the game early. Meanwhile, you get the first ending in Hollow Knight if you go and do exactly what you are supposed to do, and the other two endings are for doing extra. There is one issue though: the first ending in Hollow Knight SUCKS. I swear it's one of the worst endings I've ever seen in modern commercial game, not only is the outcome unsatisfactory for our characters, but it's just short and feels like it doesn't actually resolve anything. It's the second ending that feels canonical, and that you need to actually get to for the game to feel complete. This is where the issue comes in. To get the best ending in Bloodstained, you pretty much just have to finish exploring the castle, and everything else will fall into place as long as you take advantage of what you were told along the way. That's not the case in Hollow Knight, where I feel they were trying to find an excuse to force player to hit all the important lore spots, but it never really came together in a meaningful way. Half of it is reasonable, where you need the shade cloak to explore through Queen's Garden so you can get half of the kingsoul. The Pale King's half though, is kinda ridiculous. The first issue is getting to the White Palace, which requires using an ability that isn't used anywhere else in a specific location. The bigger issue than finding the White Palace though is getting that ability. For reasons I don't understand, they decided to make it the final upgrade that you get from collecting dream essence, when I think it would make more sense to include at least one optional upgrade past it instead of just having the seer disintegrate. The larger issue though is what it takes to get that point. The game points to two sources of dream essence, warrior dreams and whispering roots, and they contain enough essence to get all the upgrades EXCEPT the awakened dream nail. For the final bit of essence, you're expected to beat one of the champions, most of which are harder than the tyrant lord so it brings into question of what's the point of even including the queens path. The Hidden Dreams updated added some somewhat more reasonable alternative champions to get this final bit of essence from, but they have the same issue of the other champions in that not only are they hard to beat, but they are also hard to find. It's not that they are actually hard to find if you know to look for them, but as far as I'm aware the game gives you know hints that these bosses even exist, and they are all located in isolated areas that you already visited and would have no reason to revisit unless you're specifically looking for the champions. The Hidden Dreams ones are even worse in this regard, as you can be locked out of one if you miss something much earlier in the game, while the other requires a trigger completely unrelated to the character to appear, and is located in a secret area which is the one region I know of that requires desolate dive to access without any sort of visual cue. The real problem though comes once you actually get to the White Palace though, which is this seemingly never ending platform section that is FAR harder than anything before it, feeling more like you're playing Super Meat Boy than Hollow Knight. It's one thing if was just an optional challenge like the Path of Pain that it also contains, but I find the fact you need to beat it to get a decent ending to unreasonable, the game doesn't even do anything to prepare you for it. The only reason I got through it was with an optional charm, Hive Blood, whose use involves a lot of just sitting around and waiting and it is so tedious. I wonder if the White Palace feels some out of place specifically because it was a stretch goal that happened to be part of the main quest instead of a side quest like the colosseum is. Maybe it would have been even harder, but I feel like the whole ordeal would have at least made more sense if the abyss was actually completed as originally planned. The final ending doesn't have the same weight the second one does, but it's even more ridiculous. For unknown reasons, they decided to make the sole reward of boss rush side quest to be getting this final ending, and then center the entire ending around this boss rush mode, and it's just weird. What makes it absurd though is what it takes to actually get the ending, which is beating the Pantheon of Hallownest. It's hard enough to unlock as it requires clearing all the other Pantheons, but the real issue with it isn't that it's hard, it's that it's LONG. To get the hard part of the Pantheon, the player needs to spend like 20 minutes fighting all of the bosses that they've already mastered on the previous pantheons, and if they die they need to restart the entire thing. Because the ending is so hard it's like 20 minutes wasted each failed attempt, and that's just not worth it for most people. The worst part is the ending ends in a bit of cliffhanger, letting people to believe it was sequel bait, in turn frustrating countless player's trying to avoid spoilers who fruitlessly beat themselves against this ridiculous challenge. Bloodstained has it's superbosses too, but those are just additional challenges, not being required to get what seems to be an important ending. To get that you just need to be beat the game.
In conclusion, I preferred Bloodstain's save and map systems, found it did a better job at handling money, had more combat options and more interesting traversal items, had more useful upgrades to health, magic, and damage, has more useful alternative game modes, and has more reasonable conditions for getting the good endings. While I'm not saying these are the only things Bloodstained did better, I do think Hollow Knight is better in most other aspects, including graphics, story, bosses and enemies, and sound and level design, and these aspects are considered to be more essential. I will not argue why I think Hollow Knight does this better people seem to generally be in agreement to this, and I've already written well more than enough. I'd like to hear any differing opinions, but again, I recommend only reading the sections you're interested in discussing and not the entire essay.
Yuki’s mouth was agape as she looked at the document sitting at her feet.
“I’m awaiting an explanation,” Dr. Terasuki said, narrowing her eyes at Yuki as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“I didn’t write it,” Yuki stammered.
“Obviously,” Dr. Terasuki scowled, “is this some sort of sick joke?” Dr. Terasuki approached the book.
Yuki snatched it up off the ground, closing it, “Listen, I don’t know how much of it you’ve read but-”
“All of it
!” Dr. Terasuki shouted, her mouth making a loud snapping noise as it shut tight in anger.
Yuki took a deep breath and sat down on her bed, looking down at the book.
“There is a portion of that book that seems to imply that, not only do we Nite Dragons eat Dei Angels,” Dr. Terasuki’s eyes narrowed, “but also that we indulge in cannibalism
Yuki gripped the book with white knuckles as she twisted it in her lap, pursing her lips as she tried to think of some excuse. Finally, after a few moments, Yuki realized she had no other option but, to tell the truth, “This book is all I, or anyone on Dei, is told of Nite.”
Dr. Terasuki was silent, but strangely Yuki could sense her anger rapidly subsiding.
“All we are told is that Nite is a dangerous place and that there are monsters on the surface,” Yuki looked up from the book, concern on her face, “and to an extent, that’s right.”
Dr. Terasuki was silent as she looked down her snout at Yuki.
“But I’ve learned that the Nite Dragons are not one of those monsters,” Yuki explained, lifting the book up, “this book lied, I know that now, but I didn’t know that before I landed.”
For the first time Dr. Terasuki’s gaze softened, and she gently took the book from Yuki’s hands, “I believe I owe you an apology, then.”
“What?” Yuki asked, her eyes wide in shock.
“I suppose, if I were you,” Dr. Terasuki explained as she sifted through the book, “I would have run from me as well,” Dr. Terasuki gave Yuki a sidelong glance from the book. “I thought you were a complete moron, running from a hospital after being rescued.”
“Excuse-” Yuki began to protest before being cut off.
“But, if all I had to go on about an alien planet was this
book? I’d have run too,” Dr. Terasuki shook her head, “this is going to sway the Proposition 453 and 454 votes, that’s for certain.”
“I’m sorry, Propositions?” Yuki’s brow furrowed in confusion.
Dr. Terasuki nodded, “Proposition 453 is to increase the payload of the most recent shuttle delivering trade goods to Dei, and Prop 454 is whether or not to bother with extending the program after it’s expiration, come the end of the quarter.”
“Wait, there’s a shuttle going from Nite to Dei on the regular?” Yuki asked, shocked.
“You were unaware of that?” Dr. Terasuki questioned, putting the booklet under her arm, “are you aware of any shuttle service between Nite and Dei?”
Yuki shook her head, “what do they transport?”
“Mostly fruits and vegetables, in return Dei provides us with some rare metals and such that are difficult to mine due to the local fauna,” Dr. Terasuki explained, “While it’s a nice gesture, the materials are not impossible
to mine on Nite.”
Yuki took a moment to consider something, “Wait, you mean I can just hop on a ship and go back to my home planet?” Yuki frowned. Yuki thought: I should be happy
, I can see my son Geoffery again, and Jax
. She groaned at that last point. Oh Guardian, Jax…
“That was the original plan,” Dr. Terasuki said, “but you’ve complicated that rather well, haven’t you?”
Yuki turned away from Dr. Terasuki.
“You’ll have a few months to make your decision,” Dr. Terasuki explained.
Yuki gave a nod.
“For the time being, I’d suggest you sleep on it,” Dr. Terasuki was about to leave the room before Yuki stalled her.
“Wait!” Yuki shouted.
“What?” Dr. Terasuki snapped.
“Who are you going to tell about the book?” Yuki asked.
“Everyone, of course,” Dr. Terasuki explained.
“Wait, how would you do that?” Yuki asked, surprised.
“The news,” Dr. Terasuki stated, “I’d call the head of the news outlet and advise of my finding, they would send a reporter.”
Yuki gasped, “Please, you can’t!”
Dr. Terasuki turned to Yuki, curious, “why shouldn’t I? If no one on Dei is aware of Nite, then why should I hide that fact from my people?”
“Because if that happens then…” Yuki winced, looking to her feet, “...then I’ll be a pariah.”
“We won’t be blaming you for the failings of your people, Yuki,” Dr. Terasuki advised.
“But if everyone knew, they might,” Yuki looked up to Dr. Terasuki, “and Serren would…”
Dr. Terasuki heaved a sigh, looking at the book, “...problem is I already informed them that I’ve found something of interest from Dei.”
Yuki’s eyes went wide, “Please, Doctor, think of Serren!” she begged.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Yuki,” Dr. Terasuk said, an indifferent look on her face as she shut the door, walking out of the room and towards her office.
Once there, Dr. Terasuki placed the book on her desk and spotted a flashing light on her phone. She pressed it, listening to a recorded message.
“Hello Doctor, my name is Hazzel Maher, I understand you had some information about Dei? I’ve also heard a rumor you have an interesting
patient? Needless to say, I put two and two together and I’d love to meet you and
your patient, assuming she’s feeling better? Drop me a line when you can,” the message ended.
Dr. Terasuki looked at the book, her expression still stone. After a moment she reached into the top drawer of her desk, producing a small key. She approached her large filing cabinet, unlocked a heavy drawer. There she found Yuki’s medical records and she promptly placed the book into the file. She deposited the file folder back in place in the drawer and locked it.
Dr. Terasuki then picked up the phone, dialing a number, “Yes, Mr. Maher? Doctor Kattara Terasuki.”
“Oh, Miss Terasuki!” Hazzel’s voice answered.
“Doctor,” Dr. Terasuki hissed.
“Oh, sorry Doctor, of course!” Hazzel cleared his throat, “I assume this is a follow-up to my call-”
“Tomorrow morning, you will have ten minutes, you may not
speak with the patient, do you understand?” Dr. Terasuki ordered.
“Yes, perfectly fine!” Hazzel announced on the phone, “Thank you for your cooperation!”
Dr. Terasuki hung up the phone and took a deep breath, “I am trusting you, Yuki.”
The next day Serren was heading into the hospital to visit Yuki.
Upon entering the hospital, however, Serren felt something was wrong. He could feel an ache in his back and he ran to Yuki’s room in earnest.
When he arrived, he found Yuki was not there! Frantic, he looked at her chart, seeing she was to be in physical therapy for the next few hours.
He dashed down the hallways, zig-zagging between patients and doctors alike, “excuse me, sorry!” he shouted as he made his way towards physical therapy.
When he got to Physical therapy, he called out, “Yuki?!”
“Serren?!” Yuki’s pained voice called out, “help!”
Serren rushed into the physical therapy room. It was a large room with a number of weights, stress bands, and exercise equipment, as well as a set of TVs in each corner.
When Serren found where Yuki’s voice was coming from, he couldn’t help but laugh.
Yuki’s wings were fully extended and her face was covered in sweat.
A large Nite with green scales and black stripes shook his head behind Yuki, giving Serren a comforting grin, as he helped Yuki spread her wings fully.
“They’re torturing me!” Yuki bemoaned.
Serren shook his head, “They’re just training your atrophied wing muscles.”
Yuki narrowed her eyes on Serren, “You’re with them!
“This is cruel and unusual!” Yuki protested as the green Nite finally let Yuki’s wings rest.
“You’re a big hatchling,” the green Nite said, laughing at Yuki.
“Haha, Tenn,” Yuki stuck her tongue out at him.
Tenn, the green Nite, walked passed Serren, “She can take a 15-minute break.”
Serren smiled, walking over to Yuki and hugging her tightly.
“Ahhh!” Yuki cried out in pain, “still tender, still tender!”
“What’s tender?” Serren asked, smiling.
,” Yuki pouted, “I demand a chair, and water and a kiss.”
Serren started with the kiss and took her hand, leading her to the corner, “I’ll get you something to drink.”
Yuki groaned, flexing her wings, feeling a painful tightness in her wing’s limbs as she tried to move them.
Serren came to her with some water, “Here you go, love.”
Yuki nodded, drinking the offered water, “Thanks.”
“It will be worth it when you can fly again,” Serren smiled wide.
“I haven’t flown since I was a kid,” Yuki smiled up to Serren, giving him the empty cup. “It’s going to be so strange.”
“I’ll teach you,” Serren beamed, “Don’t worry.”
“And I’ll get you into flying shape!” Tenn announced as he approached the two, “Well, shall we get on with it?” he smiled wickedly to Yuki.
“Huh?” Yuki gasped, concerned, hoping for a longer reprieve from the training.
“Looks like you need to finish your physical therapy,” Serren grinned, “And then we will head home.”
“You mean my room?” Yuki asked.
Serren smiled, “no,” he laughed, “Home
Serren carried Yuki through the air, flying from the hospital over several large buildings, eventually making his way to a smaller building with several stories.
There Serren landed on the third large balcony from ground level, “be it ever so humble,” he smiled at Yuki as he walked to the door and produced a card.
Yuki looked around, spotting the sliding glass door and gave a laugh, “oh, right, why have the front door be inside when almost everyone flies?”
Serren nodded, the glass door beeping, and sliding opened, “come in.”
Yuki walked in, exhausted from her physical therapy, and spotted a couch, “Oh, Thank Guardian,” she approached it, spotting a coffee table in front, and a TV mounted to the wall facing it.
Yuki considered living here for the rest of her life, it was not entirely dissimilar from her apartment on Dei.
“I’ll start making some dinner,” Serren beamed as he walked off into the kitchen, “make yourself comfortable!”
Yuki nodded, turning her attention to the coffee table, examining the knick-knacks on it.
There she spotted a picture of Murrika standing next to Allia, alongside Serren and another male Nite she hadn’t seen before.
She focused on Allia, examining her face and scales closely. While she had seen Allia in Serren’s vision, it was clearer to her now looking at this photograph: Allia reminded her of someone.
Yuki sat on the couch, picture in hand. After studying it for some time, the TV remote caught her eye. She picked it up and turned the TV on, which was set to a news channel of some sort.
The tail end of a news story came on, “can you imagine Fasshia? Interstellar travel?”
“Well Demmer we might not have to for much longer,” a pair of Nite, a man, and a woman, stood before a large screen with images, information, and some numbers scrolling behind them.
To Yuki’s surprise, it was remarkably similar to a news station she had seen on Dei, though both anchors were sitting in that situation.
The Nite here wore formal attire, the male wearing a rather snug shirt that showcased his broad chest and biceps and a set of slacks that ended at his ankles. His claws were oddly polished black, in contrast with his light yellow skin and emerald green eyes. His horns were polished in the same manner.
The woman was in a business suit, for the most part, though she wore slacks that ended at her mid-calf. Her scales were dark green, mostly solid, with blue eyes.
Her horns and claws were polished as well, shimmering black, though the tips of her horns had little gold caps on the tips. On top of the gold caps on her horns, she had a pair of sparkling earrings and a glimmering necklace that coiled around her long neck several times.
“We go to the hunt report with Trennick, Trennick?” the anchorwoman, Fasshia, introduced.
The next Nite’s scales were brown and he wore a similar suit compared to the first male anchor, Demmer, “Thanks Fasshia. Well, yesterday was a very eventful day, and not in the major hunt!” an image of Tassel appeared on the screen, “A record was broken yesterday by none after than the daughter of the Northern District’s top huntress Murrika Wan! Tassel Wan!.”
An image appeared of Tassel standing atop a massive beast, the blood seemed cropped out. Standing next to her, almost as tall as Tassel was standing on the creature, was a large and powerful looking blue nite with matching blue eyes.
Yuki glanced down to the picture of Murrika and Allia, she held it up to the TV, her eyes narrowing, “wait, you’re not Murrika’s daughter…” Yuki’s eyes widened as an epiphany struck her, “You’re Allia’s,” she whispered under her breath.
The news report continued in the background, “Tassel and her Carrier, Lasser Trent, managed to take down a two-ton Bronzi. Amazingly, the kill didn’t need to be air-lifted, Lasser carried the majority of the load himself! At only seventeen the boy stands a staggering 2.4 meters tall!”
The screen changed to Lasser next to an even taller blue Nite, also a male, wearing a leather harness over his broad chest. His arm around Lasser, holding him tightly.
“Mr. Trent, are you proud of your son?” a reporter asked off-camera.
“Of course!” he laughed, “and I’m not surprised, because this is not the heaviest this boy can lift!” he gave Lasser’s arm a squeeze, “The boy still has growing to do!”
The scene shifted back to Trennick at the desk, “still has growing to do, a very proud father!” he laughed. “Here is hoping Tassel and Lasser all the success of their predecessors, and more. Safe Hunting out there folks!”
A Large table appeared on the screen showing a set of numbers, city names, and districts.
“In standard Hunting results, we can see the Northern District hunt is up from last year by a sizable margin, but not too far ahead of the Central District hunt…”
Yuki was certain as she studied the picture closely. The phrase rang in her head from the memory Tassel shared in the dinner. What was that phrase? Something about Allia?
The scene shifted back to the other anchors, “Tassel is really helping to skew the hunt in our districts’ favor it would seem!” Demmer announced.
Fasshia nodded, “That’s right Dem, it seems the first Allia Born Huntress has already made a splash, I can only imagine what the others will do as they enter the circuit.”
“A new breed of huntress on the rise sounds like good news!” Demmer laughed, the two anchors chuckling.
“Serren,” Yuki shouted from the living room as she approached the kitchen, “what is an Allia born huntress?”
Serren came to a halt in the kitchen, stopping his food preparation mid-way, “Allia born? Why-”
“The news mentioned that Tassel is ‘Allia-born’,” Yuki said as she approached Serren, placing the photo she found on the counter, “and it’s very clear to me that Tassel is not
Serren was silent and Yuki could feel he was thinking of Allia again.
“I thought you had no children with her,” Yuki frowned, “did you lie to me?”
Serren shook his head, “No,” his eyes were wet, sorrow on his face.
“Serren?” Yuki’s hand was on his forearm.
Serren heaved a sigh, “Allia didn’t die in the field, she died at the hospital,” his eyes closed, sending a few tears down his cheek.
Yuki could feel his pain, a tear rolling down her face as well.
“But Allia was special,” he smiled weakly, turning to her, “She came from a long line of Huntresses,” he took a deep breath, “so she had mutations. Her claws were stronger, her leg bones, denser, her wings lighter, more agile,” he smiled wistfully. “She was born to hunt.”
“But I don’t understand,” Yuki asked, “if Allia and you didn’t have children, then how-”
“The government stated that, since Allia had elected to donate her organs upon death,” Serren took a deep breath, “that this included her eggs.”
Yuki looked to Murrika in the photograph, “So…”
“Several huntresses were eager to carry her eggs with their own mate’s seed,” Serren explained. “Tassel is the result of Allia’s egg, and Murrika’s mate’s seed.”
“Oh, Serren,” Yuki gasped.
“Tassel looks… so much like her mother,” Serren shook his head, “she’s really…” he forced a smile, “something special isn’t she?”
“That’s why you were thinking of her in the diner!” Yuki realized. “And before, when you kept seeing her smiling, was it because you kept seeing Allia in Tassel?”
“Oh, Serren!” Yuki hugged him tightly, and he hugged back, tears leaking from both of their eyes.
After some time, Yuki kissed Serren softly on the cheek, drying his eyes, “You know, you should look at this as a positive…” she beamed.
“A positive? How so?” Serren smiled back.
Yuki nodded, “Yes, in a way,” she looked at the photo, “she’s left little parts of herself for you.”
Serren nodded, “there are twenty, in total,” he smiled.
“Twenty pieces?” Yuki felt a mix of emotions, but pushed past them, trying to cheer Serren up, “That’s great, right? And Tassel’s a sweetheart… she’s… like a niece!” Yuki exclaimed.
“A niece?” Serren furrowed his brow.
Yuki nodded, “Yes! Just like a niece! And you can be her Uncle Serren,” Yuki grinned, “and I’ll be her Aunt Yuki!”
Serren’s smile warmed, and he kissed Yuki sweetly on the forehead, “I love you, Yuki.”
“And I love you,” Yuki grinned up at him.
Yuki’s ears perked up, however, as the TV caught her attention once more.
“And more information on the crashed Dei vessel that landed last week,” Demmer began, with a wide smile.
Yuki rushed into the living room, Serren following behind her.
“Yes, Dem,” the anchorwoman, Fasshia, confirmed on the TV.
A picture of Yuki appearing on the screen behind them. The shot was of her smiling, walking next to Serren at some point in the hospital. Of when she was unsure.
Fasshia continued with the story, “A very unlucky accident and a very lucky young woman, Mrs. Yuki Karkade, managed to survive not only the crash but a couple of days in the harsh wilderness before she was picked up by a hunting party: Hunter Lazzrelth Kade and her carrier Fezzick Roussi.”
A video of Lazzerlth and Fezzick now played, “It was the strangest prey I’ve ever tracked!” she smiled, “but we found her, a little worse for the wear, but we managed to get her to a hospital in Cairro City.”
Fezzick now spoke, “Certainly smarter than your average Bronzi!” he laughed.
Yuki frowned as the story continued, “why didn’t Dr. Terasuki tell me she was going through with this?”
“Maybe she worried she would interrupt your treatment at the hospital?” Serren offered.
Fasshia now carried on, “at the Niten Medical Institute of Cairro, the Dei Angel, Yuki Karkade, has been under the careful care of Doctor Khattara Terasuki.”
A video of Doctor Terasuki played behind Fasshia.
“Yuki is in excellent health now but needs rest to recover from her ordeal. We are in the process of reaching out to the Niten Foreign Affairs Bureau regarding her immediate living situation,” Dr. Terasuki explained professionally.
“And is there any confirmed date for Mrs. Karkade to return to Dei?” the interviewer asked off-camera.
“Again, that is up to the Niten Foreign Affairs Bureau to determine,” Dr. Terasuki explained.
“We reached out to the N.F.A.B.’s regional director, Gallor Enahv, for comment,” the reporter announced.
A video of a rather proper brown Nite, with muted gray spots here and there, and a pair of gray horns sat at a desk with a set of glasses sitting on the bridge of his snout. His eyes were a mix of green and brown. He wore a black suit and a rather brightly colored blue tie.
An interviewer off-camera asked, “What are the current plans with the Dei Angel?”
“At this time, we are currently coordinating between Dei authorities and plan to reach out to Yuki to inform her of her current options,” he smiled, his claw tapping oddly on the desk. Gallor appeared nervous on camera.
“Why am I
on TV without someone consulting me first?” Yuki complained.
Serren gave Yuki an odd look, “The news reports what it will, they don’t have to ask permission.”
“What?!” Yuki gasped, shocked, “why didn’t Dr. Terasuki tell me about this at least? I mean why would she…” Yuki trailed off as she realized Dr. Terasuki could have told a different story. “...I guess she had her reasons,” Yuki said out loud.
Serren shrugged, “She must have, she wouldn’t do anything to defame you.”
Yuki chuckles, “I guess not," Yuki changed the subject, "so, what about dinner?”
A few days later Serren flew upside down, facing Yuki over a large range of pads and netting. “Keep your wings opened!” he shouted.
Yuki grimaced, “It’s not that easy to glide!” Yuki grunted with effort, giving her wings a flap and pushing herself higher in the air, “Woah!”
“Hey, not so high!” Serren turned around and slowly began to ascend to meet her.
Yuki steadied herself, “I’m landing, okay?”
Serren was soon next to her, holding her hand, “we’re landing,” he smiled.
Yuki smiled wide, shakily descending alongside Serren until she got close to the padded ground.
She misjudged the ground, however, and her foot came down just a second too late, causing her to tumble forwards onto the padding a few times.
Serren laughed as she caught up with her, “You okay?”
“Glad you find it amusing!” Yuki grumbled, sitting up, flexing her wings, and taking a deep breath. “I think it’s the padding.”
Her physical trainer, Tenn, landed next to her, “If you can land on padding, you’ll be able to land on solid ground.” he smiled, “go again?”
“Can I get a break?” Yuki pleaded.
Tenn laughed, “Nope! No rest for the weary!” he explained. Tenn turned for a moment but stopped, his face growing concerned.
Serren held Yuki’s shoulder tightly and she could tell he was on guard.
“What is it?” as if answering her question, the ground beneath her began to shake, “Is that an earthquake?”
Sirens began to wail in the distance.
Tenn shook his head, “no earthquake,” he turned to Serren and Yuki, “Herds near the city.”
An announcement began to ring out through the city, “WARNING: A Longervertis Herd is approaching the South Wall. All Occupants, evacuate immediately.”
Tenn rushed out of the training room.
Yuki turned to Serren, “What’s happening?”
“We need to move,” Serren took Yuki’s hand and began to run out of the building, the ground shaking more violently.
As they left the training center Yuki saw doctors and nurses running through the hallways with empty gurneys.
Dr. Terasuki was shouting, “I want ERs all prepped and ready, every single one of them!” she shouted, “no delay, life-threatening injuries are top priority!” she glared at Yuki, “Clear the hallways!”
Yuki gasped as Serren rushed her out of the hospital.
Yuki saw many Nite rushing out of the building and taking flight. “Serren!” Yuki shouted, “What’s happening?!”
Serren looked to her, “Do you want to head up and see?”
Yuki nodded, spreading her wings.
Serren held her hand tightly, flying up towards the top of a mid-sized building. A number of other Nite had gathered up top as well.
Yuki spotted where the announcement was coming from and her eyes went wide as, for the first time, she saw the walls surrounding the city.
A wall was built out of hardened concrete stretching 30 meters into the air and it was thick enough to drive a truck along the top! Separating large sections of the wall were huge towers that had the sirens and loudspeakers placed on top.
In between these walls were large ballista, each looked like a massive harpoon was loaded onto it. In between the ballista were massive cannons.
These massive walls, cannons, ballistas, and towers encircled the entire city in a structure that was absolutely baffling to see the scale of.
A new announcement rang out again, louder now that they were in the open: “WARNING: All Hunters to the South Wall. The Herd is on a direct collision path with the South Wall! All civilians evacuate the South Wall immediately! Medical Personnel, please make your way to the South Wall and maintain emergency responder distance!”
Serren’s brow furrowed, “I need to go.”
“Can I come with you?” Yuki fretted, “I’m scared, Serren.”
A young Niten boy cried out, “Daddy I’m scared too!”
Yuki turned to them, concerned as she saw his father kneel next to him, “It’s okay son, the Hunters are going to protect us!”
As if on cue, several adult hunters flew off towards the south wall.
The little boy pointed, “Daddy it’s Murrika!”
Murrika turned and grinned to the little boy, giving him a short salute as she passed overhead.
Serren leaped into the air and Yuki followed.
As they joined the hunters, Murrika soon flew next to Yuki.
“Here to see the action?” Murrika grinned.
Yuk’s expression soured, “I’m confused as to what’s going on.”
“Rogue heard,” a black scaled Nite laughed as he flew alongside Murrika, “nothing we can’t handle!”
Murrika laughed, “you’re too cocky!”
“Let's get us some dinner, babe!” the male announced.
Murrika grinned, “Duty calls!” she followed after him.
Serren motioned to Yuki to descend, where he landed alongside a number of other Nite on a building top with a large medical cross painted on the roof.
Yuki landed shakily, “I still don’t know what’s-” she stumbled as the ground shook and a massive bellowing roar was heard. This roar was soon mimicked by other large creatures and Yuki’s eyes went wide as the trees not far from the wall began to fall with loud snaps.
First, she only saw their heads, massive heads rising over the trees attached to thick necks. When they cleared the tree line, Yuki’s mouth hung open.
Each creature, from foot to shoulder, measured a staggering 7 meters and that spoke nothing of the massive necks that sprouted from the huge creature’s bodies, towering 13 meters above their shoulders. The necks were thick, heavily muscled, and colored with striped skin that looked heavy and tough.
Their teeth were sharp, though their eyes were on either side of their head, not front-facing like the Rippers she had seen before.
“That’s a big herd…” Serren’s brow furrowed.
A short female Nite next to them in a nurse's uniform similar to Serren's, spoke, “Guardians protect the hunters.”
Yuki watched as the massive animals opened their mouths, a terrible bellow coming from one, and then the other animals, as they stampeded towards the south wall.
An ear-piercing roar filled the air and Yuki spotted Murrika speeding towards the lead animal. There was cheering from rooftops as Murrika slashed at its cheek, soaring around and slicing at its neck.
Little blood was seen, but the lead creature soon turned, running alongside the wall now, the others following it.
All the nurses, Serren included, let out a sigh of relief.
Yuki smiled, “Crisis averted?”
Serren smiled back, “Murrika got lucky, the herd didn’t have any large-”
“Bull!” one of the nurses pointed, cutting Serren off.
Yuki turned, staggering back and falling onto her rear as the building she was on shook even more as an animal almost 5 meters taller than the rest emerged from the tree line.
This one was making its way towards the wall and its roar was broad and deafening.
Yuki covered her ears as she watched Murrika and a number of other hunter’s swarm the animal. It made no sign of stopping despite the hunters nicking it’s flesh here and there.
“It’s gone rogue,” Serren shouted, “it has to be put down!”
The massive creature swung it’s head to the left and, to Yuki’s shock, it struck Murrika!
Yuki shrieked as she watched Murrika fall, disappearing behind the opposite side of the wall. One other Nite flew down after her.
That’s when she watched as the large artillery was moved into position.
Another announcement came swiftly: “ARTILLERY ENGAGE - ALL HUNTERS CLEAR THE AREA!”
Serren grabbed Yuki, hugging her head tight as a cannon fired.
Yuki watched as a blast of fire and molten slag crashed into the creature’s huge neck.
Next, a pair of ballista fired a set of harpoons tethered to the side of the walls into the creature’s neck.
It roared in pain, falling behind the wall.
Yuki’s heart was pounding in her ears as she watched in shock and awe.
The ground shuddered once more as the mighty beast was felled, Yuki watched as the remaining animals, almost thirty, continued their maddened march down the length of the wall, eventually making their way out, away from the city.
“My Guardian,” Yuki stammered as Serren got her to her feet.
“Are you okay?” Serren frowned.
“I’m fine!” Yuki shouted, “Murrika, did you see what happened to her?!”
Serren shook his head, “we have to wait.”
The sirens now ceased, and a new announcement came: “ALL CLEAR. REPEAT. ALL CLEAR. MEDICAL PERSONNEL TO THE SOUTH WALL. WE HAVE MULTIPLE INJURIES!”
Serren took to the air, as did the other nurses.
Yuki jumped into the air as well, taking Serren’s hand.
Serren turned to Yuki, concerned, “Yuki, no! You have to hang back!”
“Like oblivion I am!” Yuki shouted back, “our friend might be hurt! I’m not leaving your side!” she narrowed her eyes at him, “I’m not a stranger to danger!”
Serren frowned and nodded, descending behind the wall.
Yuki this time lowered her feet too soon and stumbled slightly once she got to the ground.
Serren looked around, seeing the body of the massive creature on the ground. It was heaving its final breaths, blood soaked the ground as if it were water running from a stream.
Murrika was shouting near the head of the beast, “Fammel!” she cried out.
Serren rushed towards her, Yuki in tow.
“Murrika!” Serren shouted, rushing to her side and looking her over, “Are you hurt?”
Murrika’s wing was injured, it looked bruised and battered. She was on her hands and knees, her hands grabbing fists full of dirt as tears streamed down her face.
Muirrika’s face turned to Serren, her eyes full of pain and loss, “Fammel is under there!”
“You mean,” Yuki looked around, focusing on the huge body of the creature, “How did he get under there?”
Prior to the Longvertis bull showing itself, Murrika soared through the air, a few other hunters were herding the Longervertis away from the wall.
Murrika looked to her carrier, Fammael, the large black-skinned Nite. She smiled at him, “Looks like we're done here, huh babe?”
The black-skinned Nite grinned to her and teased, “You’ve been calling me that a lot lately.”
Murrika smiled, running her hand over her head, “My mate left me with Tassel a while ago and… well, you understand me a lot more than anyone else…” Murrika was interrupted by a mighty roar.
“Bull!” one of the tower watchers yelled.
“Hold that thought,” Murrika said, turning her flight path in midair and soaring directly at the large creature. She flapped her wings in long powerful strides, rushed up to the face of the massive bull longevertis, and slashed at its right cheek with her claws, making sure to dig her toe claws at it as well, in case she missed. But neither did, and blood flew from the wounds.
The creature let out a mighty wail and while it seemed to be turning, it abruptly swung its head toward Murrika with surprising speed.
Murrika, already flying away from the creature, was hit on her back, forcibly folding one of her wings and sending her spiraling down toward the ground nearly twelve meters below.
The black Nite, Fammel, dove down from the air and caught her quickly, landing as fast as he could on the ground.
Murrika was dazed, looking up to him, “F-Fammel…” she pointed up.
Fammel looked up and jumped forward, narrowly avoiding the mighty foot of the enraged creature.
“ARTILLERY ENGAGE - ALL HUNTERS CLEAR THE AREA!” an announcement came from the wall.
Fammel jumped into a glide, as he flew he was trapped low to the ground, not having the time or space to take flight fully.
Murrika was holding on tight as she saw the creature get blasted with shrapnel from the cannon and then skewered by the massive harpoons, but it was now poised to fall directly on top of them. “Fammel! It’s falling!”
Fammel looked up and flapped harder, but soon looked ahead to see the fast-encroaching shadow of the beast overtaking them. He closed his eyes tightly. “I love you, Murrika.” Fammel hurled Murrika ahead of him with all his strength.
Murrika felt herself propelled forward, as she hit the ground hard and fast, she rolled forward about 20 meters. The ground shook suddenly and dust flew into the air. Murrika coughed and gasped for air, the dust choking her.
“Medic!” Murrika heard someone call out in the distance, a slight ringing in her ears as she pushed herself to her knees, dazed and disoriented.
Murrika staggered to her feet, placing her hand on a smooth rock right next to her. She looked to her hand, seeing her claw digging into thick leathery skin. “Fammel?” she called out as she realized her hand was not against a rock, but rather the smooth hide of the massive creature.
Murrika looked around, frantic, confused, and bewildered. Her wing was battered and bruised, and as such she wanted to, she couldn’t take to the air to search for Fammel. “Fammel!” Murrika shouted, louder than before.
The dust slowly cleared. Murrika looked down, seeing the tracks she made on the ground as she had rolled. She followed them and found they were only a few short meters from the body of the beast. Murrika’s eyes widened, “Fammel!”
Murrika clenched her fists, closed her eyes, and let out an anguished roar. She dropped to her knees, tears streaming down her face. “Fammel!” she screamed.
Her claws dug into the flesh of the creature before her. She frantically tore through its flesh, ripping and tearing with her claws, “No! Fammel! I’ll save you! I swear!!”
Another announcement came from the wall, “ALL CLEAR. REPEAT. ALL CLEAR. MEDICAL PERSONNEL TO THE SOUTH WALL. WE HAVE MULTIPLE INJURIES!”
Murrika looked up at the wall, tears streaming down her face, “Down here! Help! Please!” she glared at the bleeding wound she had opened in the fallen animal, “Fammel… you can’t be dead!” She fell to her knees, her claws digging into the dirt as she closed her fists tightly, her eyes shut tight as tears streamed down her snout, “you can’t be dead!”
Serren shouted up to the wall, “A carrier is pinned down! Lift the body! Hurry!”
Heavy chains attaching the harpoons to the wall above soon drew taut and the body of the creature was slowly lifted up.
Serren frowned, “It’s okay Murrika-”
Murrika grabbed him, glaring at him, “It’s not
okay!” she pushed him away from her frantically, “He pushed me out of the way!” she pointed, tears streaming down her face, “I
should be under there! Not him!”
The chains soon creaked and signaled they were reaching their limits even as the body only lifted a small amount off the ground.
Serren moved Yuki back, “Please wait here,” he rushed to a set of doors near the wall, with the help of many others, as they moved what looked like large wheeled jacks under the small space created by the harpoon chains.
They began to push the jacks up, lifting the creature’s body up higher.
The roar of what sounded like a jet engine caught Yuki’s attention as she looked up.
Above her was a large craft with flashing white and blue lights. Four jet engines on either side were pointing at the ground, slowly lowering the massive craft as a set of landing gear descended from the hull of the large vessel.
As it touched down the engines powered down and a few more Nite rushed out with a stretcher.
Serren grunted, pushing his jack as high as it would go, “Oh, Thank the Guardians, the Ambulance is here!”
Yuki shouted, “that’s an ambulance?!”
The short Niten woman who Yuki recalled from the rooftop shouted, “I see him! I need a stretcher!”
Everyone now rushed towards her, some pushing more jacks under the huge animal as more blood pooled around it.
Yuki’s hands moved to her mouth as she watched the black Nite from earlier, Fammel, slowly being pulled out from under the creature. Fammel’s body was battered, bruised, and crushed. His tail appeared to be snapped in half, and he was missing a wing. His neck was bent at an unnatural angle and from his nostrils and mouth blood sputtered, indicating at least a few broken ribs had pierced his lungs.
Someone shouted from the top of the wall, “It won’t hold! The chain is coming down!”
Everyone rushed away from the creature, ensuring that Fammel was far away as the chain went loose, the jacks all straining and sliding down into the ground.
A loud ‘bang’ startled Yuki as one of the jacks failed entirely, breaking under the weight of the huge creature.
Serren shouted, “Is everyone okay?”
Murrika was kneeling next to Fammel, her eyes streaming tears, “Fammel… Oh, Guardians… why did you...?”
Fammel gasped, and wheezed, trying to speak, but failing.
The EMTs who arrived in the large ambulance picked the stretcher up and carried Fammel inside.
Murrika steeled herself and wiped away her tears, marching into the ambulance with the others as it took off into the air.
Yuki was in shock as Serren approached her.
“Yuki? Are you okay?” Serren asked.
Yuki shook her head, “Serren… what is that thing?” she pointed to the massive reptile that lay on the ground before her.
Serren heaved a sigh, “That is a Longervertis,” he shook his head, “one of the bigger ones I’ve seen.”
“Get me out of here, Serren,” Yuki said, reaching up to his neck, hugging him tightly.
Serren took her up in his arms, “I have to go to her.”
Yuki turned to Serren, “Who?”
“What sort of uncle would I be if I wasn’t there for my niece's family in their time of need?” Serren forced a smile.
Yuki smiled weakly, shivering, fighting back tears, “okay, let's go be Murrika and Tassel’s moral support.”
With that Serren took to the air, heading towards the hospital
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