| Chapter 3
Original Title: Credenza and the Demon Hunters
The chapter begins with a flashback to when Credenza was captured by Snow's crew, twelve years prior. Her parents are hurrying along a path when the pirates find them. While her dad holds them off, her mother hides Credenza in a small cabinet.
In the present, Credenza wakes up near a small campsite. After taking a moment to recall what happened before she blacked out, she examines her current situation, noting that the Quillotian vest she was resting on smells of raw fish. Credenza then hears two voices arguing about fishing. Tuff is holding the pole and is trying to keep Riley from jumping into the water and grabbing the fish, eventually failing. As the latter flails around in the stream after the fish, the former runs after him. Soon, the fish leaps out of the water, only to be caught in Tuff's vest by Credenza, who offers to cook it.
Tuff introduces himself and Riley, who kisses up to Credenza in hopes of more food. He promptly swats his brother away, as Credenza muses over how Sharkmen are considered to be just above animals, and then asks about Blitz. The pair reply that they only found Credenza because of her necklace, but there weren't any other bodies, meaning the amnesiac could've survived. Riley asks if Blitz is a boyfriend, but Credenza replies he's more of a brother before he gets tackled by Tuff. The younger brother quickly wins the resulting brief wrestling match.
The sound of a dog howling scares the wereshark twins off. Simon Drake and his partner complain that the dog, June, has treed something. Said something being Credenza, who refuses to come down until she knows who they are. Willium Drake introduces himself, and she proceeds to come down while reciting many of the rumors surrounding the man. Willum explains he was hunting the two sharkmen, and Credenza replies that aside from typical sibling squabbling, they were perfectly nice!
Simon complains that they're dangerous simply because of their sharkman blood and tries to affirm that they did... something. Will changes the subject by asking how Credenza got there, and she replies that the sub she and her friends were on was hijacked by Captain Snow. After explaining in more detail, Credenza then asks for Willium's help, but he refuses, saying that he's no match for Snow. Simon denies this, saying Will's helped the island through several tragedies, and he'll help again. Will then explains the situation: Several murders have been occuring in the nearby town. First just chickens and livestock, then eventually people, with no sign of an animal.
Almost immediately after the discussion, Nim Ru throws her spear near Willium. The two hunters promptly begin arguing, and Simon explains that while Willium is from a long line of demon hunters, Nim simply decided to be one. Will doesn't like that idea though, and complains that Nim wasn't trained to be one.
Nim slides down the cliff she was standing on, calling the male hunter a sexist. Will replies that the reason she is that she tries to do in a day what he has trained all his life to do. snarling, Nim attacks with her spear and Willium draws a Page of Swords, transforming it into a sword of blue energy, and retaliates, eventually tumbling down a hill and accidentally kissing. Simon follows as a stunned Willium gets a punch to the face. Getting up, Nim walks off grumbling.
Simon apologizes for the fight, and brings her to the town of Headside. As a guard informs the hunter that everyone is inside the walls, Credenza is suddenly reminded of Blitz's attraction to shiny things, and wonders if he is okay. Willium comforts Credenza, believing him to be dead, which she heatedly denies. As Credenza mulls over the fate of Raven, the hunter brings her to his house, snapping her out of her thoughts as he explains that he has an idea on what Snow's mechanical arm is. Tin-Can Turtle appears and introduces himself to Crdenza after Willium leaves to retrieve a book. the seranith then begins to make tea.
Willium returns and gives some details on the arm. A man named Dragonfly created it to seal the Great Raven away at the peak of its power, with the help of six souls. Knowing how powerful it was, he sealed it away, and created a book titled The Listing of Names to keep track of the souls' descendants, the Heirs. The toe was entrusted to an abbey of nuns for safe-keeping if they were needed.
Credenza realizes that those were the people Snow was talking about, and that he already has one. She decides to go get the book, but falters when Tin-Can and Willium explain that the nuns live in an ancient castle on a Hidden Island. The seranith then proceeds to tease the hunter a bit before smelling someone at the door. Turns out to be Simon holding Tuff by the collar, with an angry mob behind them. Simon reccomends that Willium torture the half-shark for information. When the hunter points out that Tuff probably didn't do "it", the apprentice replies that Tuff's being a shark-man is all the proof they need.
As Willium rants about how scared the townsfolk are, and how they're looking for a scapegoat, Tuff gives Credenza Riley's heartstone necklace. Apparently the other shark-man is wandering around in the woods and can't think for himself at the moment, and Credenza has to go find him. As she put on the necklace and muses that this is her second one from strange men, the townsfolk eventually decide to just lock him up for the night.
Later, Credenza is running into the forest, thinking to herself that while this island isn't her problem. Suddenly, a large sword is held to her neck, with Riley holding the hilt. He is in an almost Berserker-like state of rage, snarling how the town has his brother and killed him. Credenza denies this comfortingly, and shows him Tuff's necklace. In response, Riley begins to calm down, and explains that even half-sharks have a little shark rage in them, and adds that he's going after his brother, despite the message not too. When Credenza wishes him luck and begins to walk off, Reley reveals that Tuff knows exactly where Hidden Island is. She promptly changes her mind and decides to help.
At the jail, Tuff is sitting alone in his cell when Credenza and Riley arrive to break him out. After a couple failed attempts, Credenza's necklace activates, and she tries again by punching the bars in frustration, knocking them in much to the trio's surprise. As the guards are alreted, they dodge into an alley and climb over a wall, with Credenza being thrown over and stepping in something. As the two Shark-men climb over, they notice that A) the dogs that were chasing them moments ago have stopped barking, and B) the thing Credenza stepped in has friends.
They get into battle mode as the creatures begin to swarm, and attack. Just as the trio is getting overwhelmed, a purple beam of light disintegrates the critters, originating from Tin Can Turtle, who informs the three that the creatures have infested the city and Willium is gone, as are Nim and Simon. The Seranith reccomends that the three people get away from the city. Credenza denies the offer, and adds that she is going to help, with Riley and Tuff explaining that she should get away from the island in their sub. After Credenza points out that she's still going after Willium. the two sharks agree after she mentions that they aren't the kind of guys to let a woman go into the woods alone.
Back in the forest, Riley is tracking William by scent, Tuff explaining that he inherited a strong sense of smell from their dad. Eventually, Riley picks up the scent, running into Willium's shoe, with Willium standing in it. The hunter pulls a book from a small portal, and explains that the creatures are called Shadow-mandyers, and he is hunting their Queen . However, he is too busy to notice one of said creatures creeping up behind him, and is understandably shocked when Nim spears it.
Willium snaps that she could've killed him, to which Nim replies that he should at least be grateful. Willium comments that he appreciates the assitance, and she snaps that his appreciation doesn't erase what he said to her. When the male hunter comments that it was just a little name-calling, Nim retorts that that was just a little of it. What she really wants is to be accepted as a hunter like he is. As she turns around to stalk off, Willium apologizes for his actions. Nim turns around as Willium admits he was being an idiot and didn't know how it was affecting her.
Nim proceeds to kiss him full on the mouth, as Tuff and Riley talk about the necklace. The former mentions the tradition of giving a heartstone to the person one intends to marry as Credenza pops up, confused. Awkwardly, the pair reply that they were talking about nothing. She simply tells them to not fall behind, and Riley hisses a threat to not mention the topic to her, to which Tuff responds with a smirk.
Catching back up with the two hunters, Credenza asks if theyt know where they're going. Willium reveals that he didn't do the tracking; Simon's dog did, much to Nim's shock. Speaking of, June promptly bursts through the undergrowth, Simon's shoulder belt around her neck. The gang follows her to an old school house, which was abandoned when "the teacher went mad and tried to kill everyone."
Near a set of spirit gate stones, Tuff detects something wrong and draws his sword, June cowering at his feet. Once inside, they recieve an unplesant surprise: Simon has been possessed! Simon had apparently informed Willium that the place was clean of spirits, however it turns out that he had already been under the shadow-mamdyer Queen's control at the time. The Queen had appeared in the form of a wounded dog, and as Simon helped the animal, the demon had slowly been sapping his strength.
After a brief monologue involving domination of the island, Credenza punches the Queen in the back of the skull. In response to her taunting, the Queen swells in size to prepare to crush her. She is quickly pulled out of the way by Tuff.
The beast explodes out of the small building as Willium orders everyone back to the city while he and Nim remain to fight. As she runs, Credenza trips down a hill, and winds up at the beach, surrounded by shadow-mandyers. Suddenly, one disappears underwater, and she realizes something is attacking them. Said "something" turns out to be Blitz riding a shark, and is very happy to see her again.
The two promptly tear into the mandyers, after which Credenza re-binds Blitz's eye. He grips her in a tight hug and exclaims that that he was looking for her but only found sharks and darkness. She comforts him, soothingly telling him that he's safe now.
In a clearing, the Luck brothers are standing back-to-back, as shadow-mandyers approach from all sides. Riley, believing that the two are about to die, admits to Tuff that he hid Mr. Finn, Tuff's stuffed shark, under the floorboards. As Tuff snarls in response, he gets snatched by a mandyr. But just as he's about to be eaten... Blitz pops in and impales it with a stick!
The amnesiac jumps off the creature's head as it dies and the rest of the group make their appearance. Blitz makes a little rhyme as Riley inspects him, asking who he is. Credenza introduces the man, who simply goes "bleah!" as Tuff wipes the drool off. Riley then proclaims that he likes him!
As the group walks through the forest looking for Willium, Blitz explains how he tamed the shark by threatening to beat it up. Meanwhile, Tuff saves June from a pair of Mandyrs, and brings her over to Credenza, who promptly asks the dog to find the hunter.
Elsewhere, Willium and Nim are engaged in combat with the Shadow-mandyers Queen. Working together, Nim temporarily pins the Queen by jabbing her spear through the monster’s open sockets which in turn allows Willium to strike with Rain of Stars, blue magic hurling down like comets. The attack causes the Queen to shriek in pain, but Willium silently remarks that he must finish the battle soon with one final attack. Wielding a glowing blue card in his hand, after moving to strike at the Queen’s core he hesitates as Simon’s face and upper torso emerge from the beast directly in front of Willium’s attack.
Confused and seemingly aware, Simon stares and asks for Willium to kill him in order to slay the Queen. This distraction allows the Queen to recover and she attempts to consume Willium between her jaws. Calling out a warning but seeing that she’s too late, Nim takes drastic action and attempts to push Willium out of the way but moves too slowly as the Queen bites and snaps them both up into her mouth before swallowing them whole.
Horrified, Credenza watches from a line of bushes further away from the battle after being led there by June and realizes how much trouble she is now that their two best hunters are gone. Blitz asks what they must do next, to which Credenza replies that she doesn’t know and she begins to give in to despair with visible tears in her eyes. Blitz denies this, as he claims Credenza is very intelligent but she loudly disagrees as she’s not a demon hunter and doesn’t know how to respond in this situation, ending with the quieter remark that no matter how strong Blitz’s faith is, it doesn’t change what she is. Useless. In an attempt to comfort, Riley tells her that it's not her fault as everyone present is useless unless someone suddenly turns into a demon expert. This gives Credenza an idea, as she grabs Blitz's arms and tells him to relax so that she can talk to Raven, her logic being that they need to fight a demon with another demon. After a moment of discomfort, Raven takes control and curtly informs her that he is a spirit, not a demon.
Credenza demands if he knows how to kill the demon Queen, and Raven behaves aloof and asks what he would be given in return for the information. This frustrates Credenza, who exclaims that he's trapped in a human body and would get eaten by the Queen too if he didn't help. However, Raven knows how to get himself out of the mess or survive on his own and wants one condition before he helps them. To the side, Riley slides the remark to Tuff that Blitz is suddenly using a larger vocabulary and doesn't seem to understand that Raven has taken control.
According to Raven, they both now have the same enemy and after being betrayed, Raven wants to perform the killing blow when it comes time to destroy the Great Raven. Credenza agrees, and after spitting in her hand she offers it to Raven to seal the deal with a handshake. In disgust, Raven refuses to touch it but Credenza insists as she claims his broken heart is now whole so he has the ability to decide good over evil and she would trust him more easily if he agreed to the bargain in a human fashion.
Reluctantly, Raven spits into his own hand and shakes with her before quickly pulling away and trying to rid the appendage of moisture. He goes on to say that he has witnessed enough through Blitz's eyes to know that their situation is grim but they do have a few options. The Queen herself is weak and must depend upon Simon in order to continue existing, drawing her power from the young boy. If they were able to have him regain his mind for even a moment, Raven could separate them and destroy the weakened Queen. This seems unlikely though and the easier path would be to simply kill Simon and in connection the Queen.
Either way, the rough plan isn't exactly to Raven's liking but it's the best he can do with their current resources and with some luck they might just survive.
The scene shifts to show the Queen perched on a tall hill, looking towards the city and encouraging her "children" to slaughter everyone and destroy everything as there's no one left to stop them.
The Great Raven's aura appears and asks if her work is done, to which the Queen exclaims in surprise as she thought he was imprisoned and couldn't communicate. The Great Raven acknowledges that he is imprisoned, but never subdued and asks again if she's done it. The Queen confirms that she has killed Willium Drake as his heart was his weakness, as it is with all humans. The Great Raven is pleased with the news due to Willium having been a possible threat later on. The Queen speaks that all who oppose the natural chaos must be destroyed, and the Great Raven's aura takes a rough likeness to his shape so that he may affectionately touch her face and tell her that soon she would be rewarded as chaos will finally consume the Archipelago and this island will belong to her and her people. But first, one of his Ravens refuses to listen to his commands and must be destroyed. If she does this, he will give her whatever she desires.
Further down the hill, Credenza appears and begins to spout out insults towards the Queen. The Queen asks the Great Raven what to do about the human girl, to which the Great Raven responds that the Queen may kill the girl if she wishes. Moving closer, the Queen's face looms in front of Credenza and the Queen remarks that she will enjoy crunching the girl between her teeth. Credenza is unfazed, and mockingly asks why she should be scared of a skull who's just a porridge of tapioca and ego.
The Queen opens her maw wide, and Credenza looks up and calmly points out that there's something nasty stuck in the top of the Queen's mouth. With a sudden expression of glee, Credenza produces a thick stick and jams in into the Queen's mouth, telling her to have a toothpick.
Rearing backwards and attempting to remove the sudden branch, the Queen is distracted as Credenza turns and flees, yelling that operation toothpick is complete, signalling Tuff and Riley to leap forward and attack the Queen. They are quickly subdued and grabbed from the air before being slammed into each other and thrown further away into the forest. The Great Raven's aura commands the Queen to finish this and kill Raven, but the Queen can't find him. Credenza has circled around and in the Queen's confusion, Credenza runs and pushes Simon away to separate them. At her call, Raven leaps at the Queen and blasts her skull to pieces with a vicious blast of red magic. The attack was powerful enough to splinter the bone into small flakes, which Riley happily stands in and remarks that it's like snow, only pure evil. Tuff tells Riley to enjoy the evil snow, he'd rather stay under the trees.
Happy and relieved, Credenza tells Raven that he did great as he even managed to save Simon. Standing over the boy, Raven thinks Simon might not actually be alive because he wasn't moving. Simon surprises all by suddenly standing, dark tendrils appearing and encircling Raven while the Queen's body and skull reforms and she remarks through Simon that his mind belongs to her now, and simple seperation can't save him now.
With Raven now in her grasp, the Queen erects forth an egg-like barrier so that she can conclude her business with him without being interrupted. Credenza is at first unable to punch through it, but continues to try despite Tuff's insistance that she'll break her hand if she keeps trying. Credenza won't stop, not only for the fact that Blitz is her friend, but also because she made a promise to Raven and won't betray his trust. At her words, the necklace around her throat begins to glow.
Inside the structure, Raven is slammed against the inside of its walls and the Queen also verbally assualts him, asking why he thought he has the right to defy his master who made him perfect by removing all sadness and fear to be the perfect soldier. Now he isn't even a real human because he's never before felt such emotions and doesn't know how to handle them. The Queen claims to be doing him a favor by killing him rather than allowing him to continue living on in a fleshy shell. Before doing so, she draws close and asks if he at least understands his current emotion before naming it as fear.
Before she can act further, an explosion of green magic fractures the barrier and Credenza stands with fists glowing with energy and a crazed look upon her face as she warns the Queen to drop Raven or else Credenza's fists will start flying.
The Queen drops Raven and lunges forward, mouth wide but Credenza brings her first down to smash and break away the Queen's jaw. Credenza advances towards Simon, who's spouting out that her magic is useless and she should leave, before Credenza hits him with a hard uppercut.
Observing from the side, Riley stares on and exclaims in amazement that he didn't know Credenza could do that while Tuff urges them to help. Throwing an arm around his brother's shoulders, Riley advices them to wait as sometimes it's best just not to get involved while Credenza repeatedly hits Simon in anger for touching her friend.
However, one of her punches are stopped and caught by Simon's hand and she's flipped and thrown harshly to the side. The Queen extends a large claw to finish her only for her own blow to now be caught by Riley's arms. He releases her moments later and runs along her shadowy appendage, grabbing the edge of her eye socket and holding firmly as she attempts to throw him off. Tuff assists Credenza and helps her to her feet but is knocked down as Riley is finally knocked loose and flies into his brother. Turning, Credenza sees the very angry Queen rapidly coming in for the kill and Credenza braces herself for death.
A moment later, she opens her eyes to see June has climbed into her lap and stands between her and the Queen, barking furiously to defend Credenza. The Queen pulls her face away and laughs in amusement, calling their last defense their most pathetic. From where he's enveloped in the Queen's essance, Simon speaks June's name and realizes that his friend is in danger. The Queen's tendrils begin to twitch as she starts to lose control, Simon now breaking away from her influence and yelling for her to leave his body. Credenza's mouth drops open, as she can't believe the situation and calls for Raven.
Laying upon the ground, Raven hears her words and brings up an arm enveloped in magic to form a large clawed hand. He rushes the Queen during her struggle for control, using Simon's head as a springboard to launch himself directly into the Queen's open mouth. She snaps her teeth shut, pauses as red energy is seen gathering in her eye sockets, and moments later a minor explosion of power kills her from the inside. Her head falls down upon the ground, and Raven pulls himself out with yells of disgust. Standing, he only remarks on how his wings will smell like demon spit for days.
Credenza looks behind him and calls for Raven to do the same. Before he can, what remains of the Queen's body explodes in fire behind him that destroys what remained of the Queen's body and hurls Raven out into tree branches further away. Credenza doesn't follow as she notices that the black pile of goo that was the Queen is twitching, and fears the Queen is going to rise once again. A knife's edge cuts through the dead beast's skin to make an opening, and from it a very alive Nim emerges supporting Willium and says that the experience of being eaten by the Queen was the third weirdest thing that had ever happened to her.
Tin-Can arrives after having heard the explosion, and despite being told not to leave the city wanted to come and help. Nim tells him that Wllium is fine, and asks on the status on the city to find out the remaining shadowmandyrs have all disappeared. Tuff also comments that the ones in the forest are also gone, and beside him Riley grins and as he hasn't had so much fun in weeks. Tin-Can asks how Credenza and her friends are, to which she responds that she isn't sure as two of them were thrown into the trees by the explosion. Tin-Can is confused, as he can only smell one person in the direction she indicated.
She tells him that it's hard to explain but for him to go and get a doctor, as her friend might be hurt. Tin-Can lifts a brow and says that Credenza is a very odd girl, as aside from the obvious oddness of traveling with twin sharkmen, she has very old magic despite being so young,
Looking for Raven and Blitz, she finds him sitting on the ground and leaning against a tree that he obviously hit hard and scraped the bark from. His head is bleeding from the impact, and he insists that it's "just a concussion", but she turns to fetch a doctor anyway. He catches her hand before she can move too far, mumbling that he can't understand why she wants to help him after he's already filled his part of their bargain. He's only a spirit without a shell, and Raven wanted to destroy him after he stopped being useful so why was she helping him after Raven didn't?
He answers his own question and says she's only helping him because he's in Blitz's body. She grows angry at that and tells him she wants to help him because it's right. Again, he asks her what her ulterior motive is and what purpose she had for him now to which she checks his forehead for fever and says she doesn't need a purpose to care for him. Within his own mind, he seems to want her to go away and leave him to die, and wonders if she's insane.
He's done nothing to deserve help, but he actually has by wanting to save Simon. Credenza relates this to having a kind soul, even if Raven doesn't know what kindness is. She continues to search for the cut on his head, and finds that it's only a small cut and that he's going to be fine.
Raven doesn't understand how he can be fine when his stomach is making such loud noises and while he felt so awful. He hadn't eaten or slept in two days, and so Credenza concludes he just needs some breakfast and asks if he likes eggs. Similar to Blitz, he's ignorant to what they are.
Later at Willium's house, Raven's head is bandaged as he now sits at a table with a plate of scrambled eggs in front of himself. He's not overjoyed at the prospect of eating "dead fetal chicken" but at Credenza's insistance takes a bite to find it's "the food of the Gods". Despite enjoying the food, Raven requires rest after so much activity and slips back to give Blitz control again. Blitz is overjoyed to find eggs in front of him, and eats happily.
They're interuppted by Tin-Can, who excuses himself but tells them that there are some old clothes Blitz can try on. Wandering around the large home alone, Credenza wonders where everone is. Moments later, Tuff and Riley find her as Riley joyfully embraces her, causing Tuff to scold him as their mother taught them not to tackle young women. They hadn't seen her since the night before and despite looking for her couldn't find her due to the house's size.
The two brothers shared the news that they're now welcome on the island whenever they want, but have instead decided to go with her instead. Riley did promise to take her to Hidden Island, and as Credenza worries that they would be sacrificing a stable home for her Tuff tells her that they wouldn't feel right staying in one place after six years of wandering anyway. Credenza is their friend, and where she goes they will go too.
As the group of friends walk outside, Willium and Nim watch them from a balcony. Nim sees that Credenza has a unique talent, as despite barely knowing her the brothers are ready to follow her to the ends of the earth but Willium is sure it's mostly due to the fact that she trusted them when no one else would.
He goes on about the bad news she had brought, and that he would be useless to stop the Raven on his own and that his weakness could let others get hurt, including Nim. He expressed the desire to bring together his demon hunter allies to prepare so that they might stand a chance. Throwing an arm around him and drawing closer, Nim agrees with his thoughts and is sure she has nothing to worry about as long as she remains close to him.
Elsewhere on a submarine, Kurr is seen eating a human body that belonged to the original crew of the vessel which Captain Snow has now hijacked.
Captain Snow has received news from the Great Raven that the Queen has been killed. Kurr wonders what could have possible killed her, and in amusement Snow tells him that it was Credenza. Kurr is surprised she's even alive, but Snow says he's studied the girl for years and has found she's deceptively resourceful. He's also fascinated by the fact that she's befriended a minor raven and allowed it to go against its very nature, and though Kurr doesn't share his enthusiasm he wonders how these events will affect the plan.
Snow is confident that they can proceed the plan, remarking that if Dragonfly thinks bringing in Credenza will help, then he is as naive as ever. Snow will set a course for Hidden Island so that they can kill the Listing of Names. Kurr pauses, wondering on the specifics of the word "kill" in regards to destroying a book and with a smirk Snow responds that it's no ordinary book.
Snow seeks out Hans, and commands that he set a course for Hidden Island immediately. Hans protests, as he's "playing" with Knull who's currently pinned to the wall on top of a target so that Hans can practice throwing knives at him. Snow relents to allowing this to continue for five more minutes before withdrawing and sitting himself down to look over his mechanical arm.
Addressing the Prince, Snow mockingly comments on how lonely he must feel locked inside the arm all day but not to worry, as soon there will be five new souls joining him in his prison. Snow continues that Credenza has entered into a brand new game, but hardly knows who the players are and that the next move is his.
- Raven vows to be the one who puts an end to The Great Raven.
- Credenza meets Tuff and Riley Luck.
- The Archipelago is seemingly home to flamingos, though it is unknown if they resemble the real bright pink birds of today.
- Willum appears to be another survivor of Captain Snow's reign of terror.
- In Page 29 there's a sign that says "WARNING: Here there be Hamsters", a reference to the old "Here be dragons", meaning dangerous or unexplored territories.
- Hammerhead sharks have not changed from their modern counterparts; this is to be expected, as the shark has never needed to evolve more than a few minor changes.