“It has been a week and we still haven’t managed to find it,” Ava said as she threw a knife into a wooden panel. She had been doing that frequently the past few days, as was evident from the numerous gashes in the wood. She tossed another knife and looked over at Edgar, her weariness and frustration written in her verdant eyes.
“Our hunt hasn’t been fruitless,” Edgar replied without looking up from the map he was studying. His hair was in disarray and his once-smooth face was covered with the blond beginnings of a beard.
“We’ve been following dead-end trails,” Ava snapped, tossing the next knife with greater force. The impact sent the panel toppling to the ground, causing Edgar to look up momentarily from his map. “I’m tired of being led around like a tame warg. He knows we’re here and that we’re tracking him, and he is toying around with us.”
“He thinks he is toying with us,” Edgar corrected, using a compass to draw another circle around a spot on the map.
“We’re wasting our time with him. We should just move on and choose an easier target. There are dozens of wanted posters in this part of Talesin, most of them worth more than this doppelganger.”
Edgar ignored her outburst, focusing on his map with increased fervor. After a few moments of silence, Ava strode over and propped the wooden panel back up. She was trying to free her last knife from the wood when Edgar jumped to his feet. He looked up at her, excitement dancing in his eyes. “I figured it out.”
“Figured what out?” Ava said in a monotone voice as she sheathed her knife.
“Where the doppelganger is hiding out at. He thought he was leading us on a string of wild chases, but his overconfidence will lead to his demise.”
“I don’t understand,” Ava said as she crossed over to the table where he had been working. “We’ve followed four different trails to four separate parts of town. None of them had anything in common.”
“Maybe not at first glance, but there is definitely a pattern. Take a look at this,” Edgar said, motioning to the lines and circles drawn on his map.
“That looks like a jumbled mess. Kind of like the time you tried to take on that trio of Gnolls in Lockheed.”
“I was trying to save your careless hide,” Edgar replied, his turning a light shade of crimson.
“I had them right where I wanted them.”
“You wanted to be chained to a spit, roasting over a fire?”
“I was lulling them into a false sense of security.”
“Why can’t you just admit you were in trouble and thank me for coming to the rescue?”
“Moving on,” Ava said quickly, biting her lip as she looked down at the map. “What did this mess on the map tell you?”
“Fine,” Edgar sighed, shaking his head at her display of stubbornness. “We’ve tracked the doppelganger to these four points in the city,” he said as he pointed to the four red dots marked on the map. “None of them appear to have any relation to the other.”
“We’ve already covered that before, Edgar.”
“Yes, but that was simply considering their surroundings. But through the process of trilateration I could trace back toward a single area from each of those four points.”
“Trilateration. It is the process of determining absolute or-”
“Forget I asked,” Ava cut him off. “Where is he hiding?”
Edgar pointed to a spot somewhat near the center of the four red dots. It is an old part of the town, one that most travelers avoided completely. Even the daring tried not to venture there unless it was vital. Ava shook her head and slammed her fist down on the table, causing everything on it to shift slightly.
“You are certain?” Ava asked him.
“Positive. I ran the calculations several times with the same results. He is there.”
“You realize we might not even make it to where this doppelganger is hiding, right?”
“I know,” Edgar said, forcing a smile, “but I’m pretty sure we’re both crazy enough to go in there.”
“This adventure might make the trio of gnolls seem like a stroll through the meadow in comparison.”
“Rest up,” Edgar said, rolling up the map. “Tonight we’re going after the doppelganger. And first we’ll need to navigate through to the heart of the Den of Thieves.”
* * *
This is another installment in the Monster Hunter series, which follows Ava as she tracks and hunts various monsters. She is currently in the midst of tracking down a doppelganger in this second story. Her first saw her tracking down an ogre, spanning across four posts. This one is, by far, longer than the first one. Hopefully you are enjoying reading these as much as I have been enjoying writing them.
Feedback is certainly welcome. Have suggestions for the next monster Ava could hunt? Leave me a comment below!